What is Global?

Is global a mindset, a feeling, a process? Is it a gradual increase in connectivity? Is a person global, is a company global? Do these questions talk about the physicality of being global, or is it an understanding of many cultures simultaneously that make someone or something global?

It could be all of these, it could be none. I can speak to, and reflect on my own experiences about living in other countries and the states, but does this specific set of experiences translate to being global?

You can live and experience a place in a bubble or vacuum, not assimilating the culture while you visit. In fact, depending on the situation you can even impose your culture on others without meaning to. I believe that being global is not only having the experiences of many places and peoples, but also understanding your effect on them and how you can learn from anywhere, from anyone, and that every day is a teachable moment.

We can move so quickly from one side of the world to the other both physically and digitally, over the internet that we can remain in contact with people from almost anywhere (as long as they want to reply back). So, while one aspect of being global is to physically go to places to experience them, it is forming relationships with others that last, rather than superficial relationships for business or other resource gathering ventures. Relationships can start in this manner and can bring people together, its that such relationships, to be valued, must eventually have more ties than convenience.

This feeling of global may not even be apparent to us if you experience other places early in life and are aware of them, or if you have many friends who are from other countries. I feel that it is possible to be global without leaving a country. While it is perhaps not as genuine as being to these places, being exposed to other points of view and other cultures, no matter how briefly can change a person’s outlook and demeanor.

Being global is different from globalization which for me comes historically out of imperialism where western cultures tried to dominate other places. I feel that globalization also often refers to products or companies that begin to expand into other international markets and begin to be perceived as over-bearing or even rejected.

Globalization is not all bad though.  Now this process of globalization is what led to the ability for individual people to travel and see other places. So, while first contact may not always be positive, the process of globalization is what can bring “global” people together.

This is the separation between the process of globalization and the result which are global citizens. So, for me being global is having experiences in many nations, with others, in an effort to establish meaningful relationships in the future exchanging ideas and culture. This exchange then keeps us accountable to new friends and the culture that we begin to assimilate into our own.


Posted in Global Perspectives Program | Leave a comment

The Facebook, rounding out three different social media sites

HI everyone,

This week I will go over the idea of Facebook. So far all of the different social media sites that have been reviewed are primarily consumption, which is that the sites are mainly for fun, but can be used to promote businesses and online reputation.

Facebook is a means for connecting with others, be it friends and family, or other people. You can post pictures and see other people’s lives. This is what makes it interesting. Facebook is organized by people. Now fake pages can be made, but on average, what you see is at least somehow controlled truthful information about a person online.

Depending on whether or not you are a friend with someone, you can actually see someone’s life unfolding, if: you are one regularly and that person posts information regularly. Personally, I don’t update mine often and tend not to go on that much (maybe once every two weeks at most).

You can also have competitions and other events through Facebook to generate interest in a business or hang out with you friends. The site is versatile in what can be done, and this is its strength, along with its very large number of users. The main drawback is that the site has targeted ads, and data sharing, which sometimes can be a little off-putting as they reference the data you have on the site.

Facebook allows you to block some of this information, but whatever you put up, expect it to be seen. This is what can, in some instances make or break a person’s perception of you. Putting up negative content such as questionable photo or remarks can be a red flag to employers. Something thoughtless one day is regretted later. This does not mean that sites such as Facebook cannot be fun or interesting and be used well; it only means that users must be careful what is put up on Facebook for literally the world to see.

All over the world people use Facebook in some manner. This connectivity is what makes it and other social media so powerful and valuable. There are companies that are devoted to supporting other businesses make an online presence. In academia there are specific relations administrators whose job is to cultivate and promote and online presence.

While these general concepts are not new, the power and potential behind them is still very important in understanding why academia has chosen to participate and cultivate its own image in the digital realm.

This leads us to: So how does academia, such as Virginia Tech use social media specifically, at different levels (university, college, and department/school)?

Next week is taking a look at the big three (Imgur, Twitter, Facebook) that I chose to review and see how these are directly used in academia at Virginia Tech.

Posted in Global Perspectives Program | Leave a comment


This constant review of social media sites moves into an area of how we as cultures begin to communicate with each other and how these different types of media begin to influence how we can and do communicate.

The next platform of social media that will be reviewed briefly is twitter. This is a platform that is known for communicating statuses or ideas or comments or virtually whatever in 140 characters or less.

This type of platform, which as explained from a linguistics friend of mine, moves into meta-linguistics, since the hashtag tagging gives the ability to comment on what you just wrote. Usually we are not able to do that in speech. This combines the loose method of speech with a critical or commentary nature. A following portion of this blog will be written in the twitter style, but not one the platform itself. There is also my blog commnetary in the brackets.

All of the comments are written by the twitter handle (the name of the twitter microblog you create) @[thenameyouwant].

Imagine a blog entirely of making fun of a self-derived definition. the official blog of the octothorpe: @octothorpe.

the hashtag is such a wierd way of doing things and why hashtag? #bringbackoctothorpe #octotherp

the octothorpe is a surveying sign. what next a pound sign? reinventing is difficult. #theoriginaloctothorpe #newyearresolutions

Now this is just getting silly. I have true facts to get back to about my existence. #truefactsabouttheoctothorpe

[from another twitter account, lets say, @poundsigncousins] Hey @octothorpe, what is a fact? #truefactsabouttheoctothorpe

[@octothorpe responds with a fact] @poundsigncousin, a traditional symbol for village: eight fields around a central square. #truefactsabouttheoctothorpe

[then another person chimes in, @numbersign] RT @octothorpe: @poundsigncousin, a traditional symbol for village: eight fields around a central square, #justreadwikipedia #copypaste

So what do we see about the past series of comments, some of the shorthand and other nomenclature of communicating in the twitterverse? While this series of fake tweets is a joke, the some processes for actually tweeting are used.

The first tweet comments on the fact that the hashtag name is used for the same symbol as the octothorpe. This is trivia and trivial, but it shows how the ability to tweet also gives a immediate ability to critically analyze the tweet at hand.

“@octothorpe”s next tweet brings up the fact that there are even more names that can be used, then comments that he is the first of the bunch (regardless of this being true or not) and then compares this to the idea of being a new year’s resolution since people try to re-invent themselves at the beginning of a year.

Then, @octothorpe makes a joke about true facts about the octothorpe, making a reference to another type of social media, youtube (this is an inside joke between octothorpe and his followers). And can be found here about the Mantis Shrimp.

Next, @octothorpe posts fact, but someone knows its copied from Wikipedia and calls him out on it. Using the RT, or re-tweet nomenclature to show its a copied tweet sent out again to the people who might follow him, but not @octothorpe. Also, when tweets have a user’s handle in the text it makes sure that person sees the tweet. This is kind of similar to saying “Hey. You.”, it just gets that person’s attention.

This is a little about how twitter can work. One thing I will say is that, like all of the other platforms I have used, it is important to understand that information must be verified before completely believing something, and that negative content is possible.

Thankfully, this is just an example of the octothorpe. #letmeexplainyouathing.

Next week: Facebook.




Posted in Global Perspectives Program, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Visual World: Imgur

Hi everyone,

Today, although its a little behind schedule, we will be talking about the visual world of social media, in this case, Imgur. Imgur is just one of the many different social media sites. This time we will be looking at one of the most important parts of social media and design, how. Mostly it will be my rambling of how I have interacted with it and some remarks.

How is/are social media sites?  Why does this make them so interesting and engaging? Since there are some many of them, we will just stick to Imgur for now, and perhaps look at some others later.

So, if you are new to the blog, I suggest reading some of the other posts so you have a little bit of the context of what the blog is talking about. The posts span over a couple of years and engage contemporary pedagogy and these reviews of social media.

Enough of the shameless plug for the rest of the blog, let’s talk about Imgur. Imgur is one of the those site that takes time and thinks about perhaps when their users are going to be using the site, probably at night, and makes the back screen darker.

This makes the overall brightness of the screen lower and less stressful on the eyes. I noticed this immediately, and after careful “studying” of the site (hours and hours of fun looking over what people submitted in a never ending stream of content), my eyes did not get fatigued or strained from high contrast.

This is all part of the how of design. This extends not only to the actual coded product that is received, but also the users engagement to the site and how they might want to continue coming back. I would say that Imgur has done this very well. The interactions between some of the staff who frequent the site and users is often positive, and one average the site’s community is supportive.

Stay on any site long enough and you are going to see changes. I have been lurking on the site for many years and have seen how Imgur has changed and evolved. That is critical to social media and content sharing sites. They evolve, they grow, they change. This constant renewal keeps the users engaged and experience fresh.

One of the new developments was something called Camp Imgur. Impromptu Meet-ups have occurred many times, but this was an opportunity for members (who could afford to) to come together and meet up in the real world, organized at a very large scale. This concept is incredibly interesting because you have now combined the digital world with the physical world. This shows the power that social media has in bringing people together.

I might be a little nervous about going, but if its Imgur, those who go probably will have a good time.

I would say that once again, Imgur, along with other social media sites, is an experience itself. To really see what it is, go see it, and have fun. Upvote, downvote, make OC, do whatever, just don’t break the right arrow key and you can see hours of content. Sometimes you see things you may not like. One right arrow and away it goes.

Have fun and curse me later when your day disappears.

Next time I will go over another unique platform, twitter. In chunks of 140 characters or less.

Posted in Global Perspectives Program | Leave a comment

What is so fun about social media?

Hi everyone,

The next step is to not only understand, as a definition of what social media is, but also to understand “how” something is. You can define a topic, but to understand something you must also experience it.

So the question is: Who is using these services and how are they used (consumption or dissemination)?

The assumption is that everyone and anyone could use the services that social media provides. However there are some limits. First being able to afford the infrastructure of a device that can receive the internet and then a connection to the internet that lends itself to a positive user experience (Slow speeds can result in a negative experience even if the content is good). Then each type of social media lends itself to a different find of person.

I liken it to different flavors of soda. All soda delivers a similar experience, but we, as individuals, find a particular one we like the most. It is this way with social media, but a little more diverse. Different types of social media are specialized to different needs. If we take the soda example a little farther, soda is accompanied by flavored water, sports drinks, and others.

Here is a short snippet about the different types in graphic form. The chart is also below.



You can see in the chart that each has a primary purpose, but each then has features of others. If you look closely you even find WordPress in the blogging group. It is almost self-referential that using this site is in its own way studying the act of social media, at least through blogging.

In the link above and also here again, there are some characteristics of social media listed that help to understand the purpose of social media and its strengths.

So that is a little more on what and who social media is. After using social media for a while, I find that each of the site has a bit of its own personality. Some are a little more laid back giving the user more control, other not. Some push advertising and other bells and whistles that the user may or may not what. Then in the sites themselves that the individual creates and maintains you can see a glimpse of who and what that person can be.

This is incredibly important to understand while engaging social media. What we see online is either only a small portion of a person, or is a facade that the person maintains. Others even could, but hopefully not, be flat out lies or miss-directions. But that is also a draw of such sites. You can be who you want to be. You can be the way you want to be presented. And by cultivating an online presence you can control your image. This is very important on sites that fall into the networking category, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, where potential employers can look for future candidates.

These platforms are also used by companies to interact with others. For example many departments and universities use social media to connect with potential students and faculty, as well as show what the university is currently working on, or is proud to share. Often this is not a play-by-play of “university statuses”, but is more controlled in the portrayal of information and content. This is the same as when a person is controlling a reputation, but for the university it is also a brand. Here is more information on the concept of branding.

Image-sharing sites, I feel, are more for personal consumption, but can lead to projects or commission. Two examples or Imgur and Pintrest. Personally, I enjoy Imgur more but see the benefits of both. These sites let you see interesting things that others share, and comment on their worth. Often the interaction is positive, but sometimes not. These communities live and die by the reputation each has and the inherent strength of the community. It is odd, but image-sharing companies have to not only allow for the infinite possibilities that can be uploaded, but then know when content does need to be removed. Generally… you know it when you see it.

Bad historical jokes aside, these sites help people to not only connect, but disconnect. You can use social media platforms to not only connect with others but also to sit and see, or “lurk/ be a lurker”. These sites can be a mental escape for stress, or to just have a good time. Once again I do not feel I can give a full explanation, just see and experience it for yourself.

Who knows, you might like what you find.

Next week: reviewing a social media site. Who will it be?


Posted in Global Perspectives Program, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Learning about Social Media

So what are some basics to Social Media?

From Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media by Kaplan and Michael, social media is/are the application that allow for the sharing of information and content, that is user generated, with the paper here. This concept is supported through the WEB 2.0 concept, explained here, and the idea of remixing.

These spaces are refuges to make and interact with content, making and remaking what is seen, heard, and known. There are so many different types of social media, that to leave it as such a broad term would get in the way of asking and understanding what the research really aimed at.

So the the question for this week is:  what? What is social Media?

To prove a point, here are some classifications of social media technologies, taken from Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an example of the WEB 2.0 concept, allowing users to interact and post information. It serves as the beginning for our search into social media (all of the links go to the Wikipedia articles on each):

Social-media technologies take on many different forms including magazines, Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, microblogging, wikis,social networks, podcasts, photographs or pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking. Technologies include blogging, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-posting, music-sharing, crowdsourcing and voice over IP, to name a few. Social network aggregation can integrate many of the platforms in use.

All of these examples show the wide variety of things and content that can be social media. Some heavy-hitters you might recognize are Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tumblr, Reddit and Imgur. All of these sites depend on content generated from users and then consumed by users in a cycle.

This is just the begining to what social media is. Next week will be: Who is using these services and how are they used (consumption or dissemination)?


Posted in Global Perspectives Program, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Right here and now: thoughts on global higher education, accountability and relevance

Hi everyone,

We were asked today to share our thoughts about global higher education, accountability, and relevance. First what do each of these things mean? Then, what a possible relationship between the three? Often there is much to be learned in the interaction and boundary between topics.

So what does global higher education mean? Is it opportunity? Is it connectivity? Is it a series of experiences? Is it potential? To each of us in higher education, we came for different reasons, different mindsets, different questions. Now, we have seen just the beginning of what an international, or a global experience could be like and how drastically different the process and outcomes are, or can be. The context that Dean DePauw, and later others will give, will create a vision for what these things can mean, given personal context.

For me, this shows that higher education can give the potential for opportunities, connectivity, and experiences. What global higher education can give to us is the opportunity for connecting with others, seeing their potential, and then experiencing a cultural exchange.

So, does this mean that accountability is a recourse for not meeting expectations? No, I think accountability is greater than being held accountable. Accountability is being accountable to yourself, your goals and aspirations. Anyone, be it a person or an institution, can be made accountable through external stressors and expectations. It is the internal code of ethics and morals that drive us not only as academics but as human beings. This higher moral standard is how we can choose to operate and maintain a high level of excellence and scholarship.

If my personal exceptions for myself, I often feel more disappointed when I cannot meet them. Sometimes these expectations can be far-fetched in goals, but others are basic. My most central expectation is to embrace and internalize failure. While none of us particularly like to fail, it is much more important to understand the reasons and be able to correct or optimize lessons learned. I do this not only to help myself, but then to give that experience to others, so that they may be able to avoid the same pitfalls.

That is how I am accountable to myself and to others.

Relevance is more ambiguous. Things can move in and out of relevance, be a varying levels of relevance for different people, in different places, at different times. If you have a certain philosophies of thought or knowing you can make things irrelevant based on principle, or contradiction. You can even make some decisions based on irrelevant data in regression analysis. Now, relevance can also be relevant to the times, which can fall into “cutting” or “bleeding-edge” research and knowledge. Relevance can also mean not behind the times, that it is not being ahead, or behind, but in the pack.

I feel relevance is contextual. That we need to place relevance somewhere in time and space and see what comes from it.

So, when we bring these three concepts together, even the order of the words makes a difference in meaning.

What is the relevance of accountability in global higher education?

How can we be accountable in remaining relevant  in global higher education?

Who is accountable for remaining relevant  in global higher education?

Is global higher education accountable in remaining relevant.

Should global higher education be accountable? (asking for relevance)

This interaction of how we ask a question, is what should be understood before moving on. The topic for this year was global higher education, accountability, and relevance. This is posed akin to a list. However, we have already seen that the way we ask questions can inherently be leading, or even misleading. What if a person brings another topic or experience into the list and changes the meaning completely?

In the end, I could go on a innumerable amount of tangents, all with different implications. However, it will be my experiences and resulting observations and reflections that lead me to a more interesting question to be asked of global higher education, its accountability, and its relevance.

My thoughts remain in how the two groups of academics from the US and Basel will work together to learn from each other and engage that task at hand. By doing so, we all can be held accountable for the opportunity we have been given to learn from others in an effort to remain relevant in our disciplines. This struggle, as we continue to understand the world and its phenomena, hopefully will lead us towards a greater understanding of global higher education and its worth.


Posted in Global Perspectives Program, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Beginning of Knowing Social Media

Hi everyone,

Whenever I try to understand something, I first look to what kind of philosophical stance I want to take while researching it. I feel that without this, sometimes my search is less rigorous.

Most often I choose to use a method of logical argumentation (like a literature review) to try and understand what has been done and when opportunities may present themselves. Often I try to then couple this with some kind of immersive experience to see how I react to the material myself, falling under a more phenomenological stance. From this combination of techniques, I will research social media in the context of my interests for the GPP trip learn and understand it.

Before I begin researching social media, there first needs to be some sort of concentration, in this instance it comes from the research questions posed last time, posted with greater context here.

Like with any report, the beginning questions of who, what, when, where, why, and how can give us some guidance in answering a question as completely as possible.

In this case, “who” is not a single person, but a group of individuals, as a university. Therefore the first question lies in: Who is using these services and how are they used (consumption or dissemination)? So is social media mainly used by the students of the university, or the university itself. Most likely it is the students, but to what extent and for what purpose?

This secondary “what” question brings us to the main “what” question. People and universities use technology often to gain an advantage, or to connect with others. Humanity is inherently a social existence (though the level of social involvement is variable and personal). So, What are the perceived benefits of these types of social media, or any actual recorded benefits? These benefits are probably in connectivity of students and for planning events and discussing popular culture or other events, but what else does social media provide for us as a communication medium?

Now is “when”. This is not only for the present, but also for the future. For example, is there a perceived potential for such technology in higher education in the future? and Are there signs of dependence on social media; for example it using during work hours? One searches for the potential to be found in the technology, the other is then look for the volume this technology is currently being used. If I can see when something is used, then it might point to their qualities that may be useful, or when to avoid types of social media at certain times.

Where is also incredibly important in understanding the context to a particular set of inquiry. Since the trip is to Switzerland and Italy, the hope is to find out: How is social media engaged in various universities in Switzerland and Italy?  This will be done mainly through asking questions of the professors and students while on the trip and then compared to usage in the United States. This set of questions also dives into How something is used, in reference to a place.

The last on from the preliminary list is: why? This is a somewhat leading question, but it can reveal other “whys”: With the design or use of social media is there an increased perception of efficacy for the university? In other words: does social media help to promote a positive image for the university? 

Now that I have set of questions for engaging my line of inquiry, I can begin to generate a basis for understanding and then later analyzing my future knowledge and thoughts on social media.


Posted in Global Perspectives Program, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First Impressions


We have been getting into the swing of things here and I thought it would be good to stop and make sure I knew what I was trying to get out of this whole experience.

First, often learning comes with a set of expectations and guidelines, that we define and categorize experiences in order to determine completion of a set of goals. Sometimes these can be simple, sometimes personal, sometimes academic. Personally, my hope is that I can mix the three of these to create a realistic set of goals for a unique experience.

So, here are my learning objectives for the Global Perspectives Program:

Learning Objectives:

  1. To once again engage the European Landscape and culture this time through the lens of Switzerland and higher education.
  2. To learn from others as our engagement of the world and phenomena is based on personal experiences.
  3. To take this experience and translate it to a meaningful experience for others

I constantly use the phrase “Look, listen, learn” as a guide for how to engage a unique situation. The first two objectives are a direct translation of this thought process. The first is to look, and listen to what others have to say about their experiences so that I may then (as the second suggests) learn from them. The last objective is to then help others to learn, who were not able to come with us on the experience.

We have been given a wonderful opportunity through the graduate school to not only learn from each other as we prepare, but to also learn from the combined experience of an philosophy and method of education and its history. While we have a strong set of traditions at Virginia Tech, there is a much longer set of traditions at the schools we will visit.

Since I believe there is a phenomenological method to the creation of knowledge and independent sets of experiences to build this knowledge, it is important to build such knowledge through shared experiences. Virginia Tech’s relative time as an institution is much shorter, suggesting we still could have much to learn and grow from others.  I am glad that we have such schools in Europe with long traditions that continue to remain leaders both here and abroad that are willing to work together.

It could be so easy to fall into a set of expectations and not move forward as the world becomes more digital. Therefore, I want to learn how they now engage the internet and the digital world and see what sort of example they set for newer institutions in their countries as well as the United States.

Therefore, my GPP Research Topic is:

At Virginia Tech and other academic institution in the United States, social media is quickly becoming or has already been a method for communication and outreach. In this mindset, how is social media engaged in various universities in Switzerland and Italy?

Who is using these services and how are they used (consumption or dissemination)?

What are the perceived benefits of these types of social media, or any actual recorded benefits?

Is there a perceived potential for such technology in higher education in the future?

With the design or use of social media is there an increased perception of efficacy for the university?

Are there signs of dependence on social media; for example it using during work hours?

This is my start to the discussion about GPP 2015, and look forward to learning more about the program.



Posted in Global Perspectives Program | Leave a comment

This is a test of the GPP Posting System

Hi everyone,

Here is a test post for the category. I hope to see everyone at the next meeting.


Posted in Global Perspectives Program | Leave a comment