Community communications go beyond blogs and social media shares, how does a PLN help and hinder the development of thoughts and ideas in public discourse – especially when addressing our differences?

What we must admit is that racial discrimination is still an issue that cannot be ignored today, as HARRISON MOONEY mentioned in the interview what his childhood experienced and what he felt in the workplace as a black writer. Globalized social media can allow people to hear more different voices, such as finding a black hockey fan. Meanwhile, because of the convergence of one community, people who have been communicating in that for a long time are not able to realize their own prejudices and common problems due to the idea consistency, different voices from social networks can help them discover these.  I once participated in the discussion about Marvel’s movie “Avengers: Endgame” hashtags on Twitter, and found many hidden clues that I didn’t realize when watching the movie, and my friend was not interested in superheroes, he could also pop filter bubble through # Avengers Endgame.

How can a PLN be curated to minimize bias and expand knowledge of the lives of others?

According to Ciampaglia and Menczer (2018), there are three bias exsiting in the social network: bias in the brain, society and machine. A cognitive shortcut occurs when a person determines whether to share the story displayed on their social media. People are very influenced by the emotional connotation of the title, although this is not a good indicator of the accuracy of the article. Another source of prejudice comes from society. When people interact directly with their peers, the social prejudices that guide them to choose friends affect the information they see such as name identity. The third bias is applied by both social media platforms and search engines.   These personalization algorithms are written to select the most attractive and relevant content for each user. However, it may ultimately intensify users’ perceptions and social prejudices making them more susceptible to manipulation.

To minimize those bias and expand knowledge of the lives of others, we have to maintain an open and inclusive attitude in PLN. Most users just choose people around them and recommendations as the objects of attention, but this is prone to prejudice. It does not mean to give up friends in reality. A professional PLN should choose carefully who will affect our thinking. For example, when Harrison changed from a sports reporter to a daily news journalist , his following also changed from the sports field to  social news providers and commentators who give inspire and different perspective on the same news. Also, when we have a different view with another user and prepare to argue with him/her, we should always think about their background and the environment that they live. This allows us to have a different perspective when considering problems instead of having to prove or argue that we are right.

How does the identity of who you are, fit into your PLN? Do you include professional and personal boundaries?

When building our PLN, we should consider whether to associate work with a digital identity , or think that the identity on social platform should be anonymous. In the Boston bombing, with the help of the Internet, the police found the suspect, but Reddit also made an innocent student become a victim of doxxing who just shared his photo online (Meikle, 2016).  In my opionin, we should have different levels of realistic identity disclosure for different social platforms. For example, for LinkedIn, we need a true description of our education and work background so that HR can understand us. For Twitter or Facebook, whether we are willing to completely separate work and life determines whether we want to establish both professional account and personal account. Harrison’s profile picture and photos on PLN helped him see more voices from the black community and reduced discrimination. While on the other hand, he is more likely to be attacked by extreme racists, because his work and life trajectories are exposed online and are easy to track. However, if we build PLN into a completely professional account like a robot, it may reduce conviction and cohesion to other users. People will think that behind this account is not a real person and less interested. In general, everyone should be aware of information disclosure on social platforms no matther it is professional or personal.


Reporting in a Connected Culture with Harrison Mooney – Course YouTube Channel

Ciampaglia, L. G., & Menczer, F. Misinformation and biases infect social media, both intentionally and accidentally. (2018, ). The Billings Gazette (Billings, Mont. : Daily)

Meikle, G. (2016). Social media: Communication, sharing and visibility. New York: Routledge. Chapter 4.