Why are we encouraged to reflect? Reflective writing enables consideration of issues connected with learning. It involves the passing of critical judgement about something. In the case of the blog both the content of digital marketing skills and knowledge needs to be considered. Reflective practice occurs within the session and after the session. I therefore find the idea of a reflective moment interesting as one should reflect after doing anything so a series of reflective moments is more accurate. Initially some reflection must be focused on the technology as for me this is my first experience using the Adobe Connect platform for a lesson. I felt slightly worried in advance and therefore attended the session early to ensure I was there. This was useful as I had to register for the class before being able to enter the room. When I entered the room there were reassuring signs that I was in the right place with lecturers in place and microphones off! A PowerPoint welcome slide was up and there was loads of buzz from discussion from students in the room.
A further consideration I have is which model of reflection should I use and does it matter? Hilsdon J (2010) recommends a model to generate critical thinking based on Kipling’s wise men and these are used as a framework for analysis and evaluation. Using Google images a number of different models of reflection are illustrated (https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=models+of+reflection&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=8w56UsGcAsTL0QXLp4GQBQ&sqi=2&ved=0CDEQsAQ&biw=1110&bih=641). Key authors on reflection are Gibbs, Kolb and Schon. Kolb’s Cycle of Experiential Learning details that learning takes place in a continuous cycle of interactions between events and reflection ( http://academic.regis.edu/ed202/subsequent/kolb2.htm)
The experiences within Squared Online will be those in class and those of self study and application.
Kaplan and Haenlein confirm that “blogs are the earliest form of social media”. What defines a blog as a blog is “displays date stamped in reverse chronological order” (OECD, 2007 in Kaplan and Haenlein, p63) therefore different forms of blogs are possible and can include visual static or moving images.
There are of course different forms of blog. Twitter is a microblogging platform and although there are apps such as Twisshort which enable more than 140 characters it is difficult to build a reflective argument so concisely. Equally static images in social media sites such as Tumblr another microblogging platform on their own would have limited opportunities for discursive and critical analysis but can be used in conjunction with the more common textual blog. Uzayr (2012) recommends ten free blogging platforms at http://sixrevisions.com/tools/top-free-online-blogging/. WordPress.com, blog.com and blogger.com are the top three. I host my own website which I built using WordPress which Uzayr describes as ” the ultimate platform”.
Thevenot, G (2011) argues although blogging is popular and can be used as a networking tool it can have negative as well as a positive impact. Therefore because of the lack of a safe walled environment for publication of the blog, criticality will have to be limited in order to protect the author from writing material which could be seen as damaging reputation or infringing other laws. Kaplan and Haenlein detail social media use is not without risk hence many students will need to check their organisation’s social media use policy. I intend to be careful.
Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) detail the challenge seen by firms is how to make profitable use of social media platforms. Social media includes blogs as well as “content communities, social network sites, collaborative projects and virtual game worlds” (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010). They confirm the rise of social media and quote figures from Forrester Research in 2008 detailing that 3/4 of internet surfers use social media. Blogs have low social presence and media richness but are high on personal disclosure. Examining the November challenges and reflecting on these means considerable thought needs to be given to what is disclosed and why, and the protection of my company and my personal brand is important in my blogging.
Whilst I have managed to blog and distribute my blog via my website and contribute to and read others e.g. Health Rising, I am aware that my blogs are short on visual content. Whilst I can find copyright free images that are not ideally suited to the learning blog the ones I might prefer to use and insert into an assignment for educational purposes I am prevented from using as my website is available for public consumption. I need to be sure not to infringe copyright and a public blog is not in a safe walled environment. If my squared blog focuses on the material inherent in videoed lessons this limits the photographic content I could include from a face to face session. The first challenge therefore is to find images I can include relevant to digital marketing concepts and theories discussed.
The slides used in the lecture included many pictures but there was little written narrative. This is completely different from many lectures I have seen uploaded on platforms such as Blackboard for blended learning programmes. Quotes were not dated and no bibliography provided at the end of the presentation. Information from reports was not clearly cited. There was no apparent use of the notes section in the PowerPoints. In order to deal with this my own research will be necessary to build a useful knowledge base.
In the lecture titled Revolution I was surprised to see so many students in the class: circa 140 which is more than double the number of students currently in the Google Squared Online community. I felt confident about engaging in the discussions in the lecture when asked, having discovered the functionality in the little man, but reading comments in the box was challenging due to the speed and number. Some comments were in colour which was useful additional functionality but I could not see a way of doing this. The use of the @ in the comments was helpful in replying. Clearly this blog will act as a learning log.
The two main learning areas covered were those of digital marketing and how the communications environment has changed. The three definitions presented were all different from one another. Chaffey discusses the evolution of terminology from internet marketing which he defined as “achieving marketing objectives through digital technologies” (2000) through to e marketing which was defined as “achieving marketing objectives through use of electronic communications technology” (2002, p328) to a longer considered definition based on “applying technologies which form online channels to market” (2013). Key elements of his longer definition include channels, technologies, objectives and tactics.
Expanding the idea of the definitions it is helpful to consider the digital marketing channels. Both a website and a social presence is needed and the presence is made up of ” opt in email, interactive ads, online pr, online partnership, offline communications, social media marketing, and search marketing” (Chaffey, 2013). Smith (2007) details over 5000 results in a search for digital marketing with different definitions.
The second area of learning was focussed on the revolution. Smith and Ze Zook (2012) begin their text with the idea of a revolution. Key ideas introduced are the role of social media in encouraging companies to listen to their audience. Whilst this should happen where companies are marketing orientated different philosophical approaches to orientation means that in practice companies may have focus in other areas such as product or selling. Communications therefore include the experience and customers now review experiences in sites such as Trip Advisor which gives clear feedback to other users and acts as a recommendation or otherwise to stay or eat at a particular venue. A number of social media sites therefore including blogs enable prospects to determine whether they choose to engage or use a company and its products.
Chaffey, D, (2000), Internet Marketing, Strategy, Implementation and Practice
Chaffey, D, (2013), Definitions of E marketing vs Internet Marketing vs Digital Marketing, Available at http://www.smartinsights.com/digital-marketing-strategy/online-marketing-mix/definitions-of-emarketing-vs-internet-vs-digital-marketing/ (accessed 6/11/2013)
Kaplan A and Haenlein A, ‘Users of the World Unite! The Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media’, Business Horizons 53: 59-68, Elsevier Available at http://michaelhaenlein.com/Publications/Kaplan,%20Andreas%20-%20Users%20of%20the%20world,%20unite.pdf (Accessed 06/11/2013)
Kirk, (2012), The Kolb Model, Available at http://academic.regis.edu/ed202/subsequent/kolb2.htm (Accessed 06/11/2013)
Hilsdon, J, (2010), Reflection Learning Development, Plymouth University, Available at learningdevelopment.Plymouth.ac.uk (Accessed 06/11/2013).
Smith, K (2007), New Marketing, Available at http://digitalmarketing101.blogspot.co.uk/2007/10/what-is-digital-marketing.html (Accessed 06/11/2013)
Smith PR and Chaffey D, (2002), eMarketing eXcellence, Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann
Smith PR and Ze Zook (2012) Marketing Communications: Integrating Offline and Online Social Media, London: Kogan Page
Thevenot, G (2011), ‘Blogging as a Social Media’, 2011 17:139-149, Journal of Vacation Marketing, Sage, Available at http://thr.sagepub.com/content/7/3-4/287.short (Accessed 06/11/2013)
Uzayr bin Sufyan (2012) Top Ten Free Online Blogging Platforms, Available at http://sixrevisions.com/tools/top-free-online-blogging/ (Accessed 06/11/2013)