Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Early Review

As friends would know, I am a die hard fan of the Assassin’s Creed Franchise, my boss often wonders if I am channelling a 12 year old boy in a 35 year old woman’s body… I’ve been trying to explain the characters, Kenway is Connors grandfather, as I detail the figurines on my desk, “You know its not real” he says…

Yesterday was the launch of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag in Australia, I picked up my pre-ordered buccaneer edition for Xbox and proudly have the map attached to my study wall and the figurine sitting on my desk at work.  I also picked up the book which takes you through the entire game, its essentially a really big, detailed walk-through.  I know I’ve been sucked in to spend more money, frankly, I’m ok with that, it has beautiful illustrations and will help me get the perfect score.

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Onto the game, I really love it.  It does feel like its a slight mash up of the earlier editions featuring Ezio and AC4, but with that comes a sense of familiarity.  The four dancers are back that you can hire to distract guards  and help you blend in.  You can also hire four strapping men to be your ‘body guards’ and fight for you.  They have brought across the ability to jump into a window and an auto sequence starts to get you through the building when trying to escape the local law enforcement.  I haven’t come across horses yet, but I have caught and skinned an ocelot, iguana and alligator and have crafted some new tools. Another element that is back is going into the pigeon carrier house and taking an assassination contract.

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The coolest part of this game I think so far is being on the water, on your big ship.  Being able to bring a crew to its knees and steal their sugar and rum is fun and bulks out the game time from the main quests.  The sandbox approach to the sailing is also a lot more fun than AC4, and there are way more boats to plunder and destroy.  I haven’t found any underground tunnel systems yet, but I am only a few hours into the game.  I also see that later on I will be able to explore below, down into the oceans depths, am really looking forward to that, reminds me a little of Tomb Raider when Lara has to swim outside the submarine and avoid the sharks.  One element that I love is being able to stop your boat at any time, jump off and go and explore a little atoll or beach in search of treasure, game or information.  This game has a really open world feel to it on the ocean, not so much on the land.

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All in all the game is fun, easy to play if you aren’t new to it although it feels as though the enemies are a little easier to kill than in AC4.  If you are new to the story you could easily enter the franchise at this point.  It almost feels that all the mythology and background story is over and now its just business as usual on the planet earth.  No sign of Juno yet…

Using social media to seed job prospects

The way in which we connect with what I like to refer to as the ‘key-stakeholders’ of our lives is changing. With a wide array of SNS to connect with these people, it’s important to choose the right platforms to connect in which to engage them. It is opening up new communication channels which can serve your purpose, or be your biggest hindrance to making your next career move.

In the last 12 months I have become highly conscious of what I publish and what people will find out about me online. Hanging out with my friends at Uni, we started to Google our names to see what photos came up. I do this on a monthly basis to ensure I’m comfortable with my level of exposure and content and have taken measures to increase what information I want perspective employers or my current employer to know about me.

For example, if I want to see the images that come up against my name, in the first page, I can find a wide variety of my picture and others that I have taken appear, I have highlighted them in a red box.

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Hopefully, you can deduce from the images that I am passionate about photography, fashion, shoes, nature and digital media. With Facebook being a primary source of information for recruiters on a personal level, I have created a public ‘business page’ as opposed to my personal site which has the highest privacy settings. My Facebook business page portrays the image that I want employers to notice.

Before Facebook, it was very easy to create two identities, one for your personal circle of friends, a second that you showed at work. This has become much harder to do with the prevalence of SNS’s and the difficulty in having a private life. So is this leading people to lying on their Facebook pages in order to create the image or identity that they believe employers would favour? And if they aren’t being truthful, how then can recruiters use Facebook as a way of accurately determining the validity of hiring one person over the next?

According to Liu, 2007 cited in Smith, Kidder 2010, there are two types of identity profiles:

* Differentiation – you are unique and different from others

* Self-enhancing – you are popular, lots of friends, mainstream and similar to others.

If I apply this theory to my own personal SNS strategy, you can see that it can be a very strong tool for landing the job or employer you want. For example, the next company I may like to work in is Lorna Jane, I am consciously building connections with the brand to put me ahead of other candidates in the future as I will appear to them to be the most natural fit for their business.

* I follow them on all of their available sites.

* I post images and tell short stories about my own health and well-being challenges and tag them at the end. I visit stores and ‘check-in’ on Facebook.

* I comment on their blog posts and mention them in mine with links to their page.

* I attend events and take photos and video which I post and donate for them to repost.

* I have connected with employees on LinkedIn and keep in regular contact.

* I use their product in promotions within my current role at Blackmores

These identity profiles fall out of Social Identity theory, something I came across when reading an article exploring the use of Facebook as a recruitment tool. To have knowledge of this trend can be very powerful both internally and externally. Zeidner, 2007, cited in Smith, Kidder 2010 states that ‘…15% of human resource managers surveyed currently use social networking sites to check candidates’ backgrounds and of those that currently do not, 40% indicated they are likely or very likely to do so within the next year.’ It is now six years on and you can be sure that the majority of managers looking to recruit are searching your SNS profile.

When posting content we’re all trying to present an image, the best possible version of us that exists, there is nothing new about the concept of self-promotion, we just have new and more complex channels in which to do it. In an article by Smith and Kidder, 2010, they talk about Social Identity Theory in context with Facebook. “Social Identity Theory is the study of how identities are shaped”, (Ashforth, Harrison, & Corley, 2008, cited in Smith, Kidder 2010, p. 493). Smith and Kidder, 2010, explain how Facebook is a new vehicle which individuals can use to build their identity. Other sites that I use to build my profile include Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn.

By creating obvious links between me and a preferred brand, it will make it easier when a job becomes available to be considered for hire. I am trying to fit into their group and be seen as being like minded and sharing the same values, which is a form of the self-enhancing profile. This aligns nicely with the another theory, Leader-Member exchange, where being part of the in-group is both rewarding personally and can have a positive impact on career progression. I’ll share my views on this next week.

The danger for employers is that the information could be false and produced to create the illusion of brand alignment, at the end it will come down to a face to face interview and peer interviews to understand cultural fit and reliable references. By all means use social media as a recruitment tool but employers, almost everyone has a drunk photo, and employees, always have social media policy front of mind.

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Source: Alltop, 2012

References

Smith, W, Kidder, D 2010, ‘You’ve been tagged! (Then again, maybe not): Employers and Facebook’, Business Horizons, vol. 53, pp. 491-499.

Alltop, 2012, “Recruiting technology: A social history”, last updated May 13th, 2012 at 11:18 AM, accessed 30 October 2013, http://holykaw.alltop.com/recruiting-technology-a-social-history-infogr

Personal social media policy

There are two types of social media policy, corporate and personal. Both are equally important and its up to you to be proactive about finding out what they are or developing your own.

Corporate Social Media Policy

Every company should or will have a social media policy for its employees.  It’s your job to find out what it is and adhere to it as part of the terms of your employment.  So many businesses have their own Facebook page or Instagram account and if you are going to contribute or connect using your personal social media sites you need to understand the limitations.

The link below will take you to the NSW Police Force Social Media Policy as an example of what corporate document might look like.

NSW Social Media Policy Guidelines

Personally I think all companies that have social media sites should run frequent policy seminars for their employees which also help educate them on social media and how to use it both professionally and personally.  Keeping your employees up to date with the latest in technology and how to cope with it can help to avoid any awkward moments for staff.  It can also help prevent any mistakes going viral, the video below shows what happened to some Dominos Pizza employees.

Its up to you to be aware of what your companies policy is on social media, and if you can’t find it, don’t be afraid to ask someone.  For some small businesses its unlikely that they will have such policies.  Its important that you raise this with them and discuss as terms of your employment what they are.  Businesses are becoming or will need to become more savvier in providing guidelines to ensure that only positive and appropriate content is published surrounding their brand.

Its the same as when you are giving the dress code for a company, if you were working for a law firm or banking institution, coming to work in running gear, sneakers and a cap would be inappropriate, however if you were working at Lorna Jane, this might be acceptable.  Some Executive Assistants that I know that work for law firms, have two Facebook profiles, with different names so that can’t be associated with who they work for in their bikini photos with cocktails in hand from their last Bali trip.

Personal Social Media Policy
1. Never post while drunk. While we would love to be in a world where people accepted that we all have a drunk photo, we don’t. Companies have been known to search through social media sites to get a better understanding of your character before they hire you.  People will judge you on the images that you post while having a wild night out with your friends, even though they probably have some of their own.

2. Keep your friends close and your personal stuff, well personal.  If you want the world to know about some things and not others, then you’ll have to be clear about what you share on what platform.  Facebook for example is really a place to connect with friends, unless you have a public page where you can share with unknown ‘likers’.  If you’d like to build up your personal ‘brand’ then use platforms like Pinterest, Instagram or LinkedIn and keep your Facebook profile private.  Also be careful about who you connect with on Facebook in a work space, otherwise they will see what you got up to on the weekend and it could be fodder for workplace gossip.

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3. Don’t write what you really about your employer.  Having a rant about your workplace, your boss or co-worker is unprofessional and career suicide, particularly if you name people and the company.  It could get out into the public arena and could be used against you.  If you have a problem, confront people face-to-face or go and speak to someone in your HR Department.

4. Taste your words on your tongue before you spit them out.  If you are a particularly passionate individual, you may just want to read, and reread your comment before you hit enter, send or post.  Apply and objective eye over the content that you post, even one small sentence, and be sure that you aren’t going to land yourself in hot water.  Its not to say you can’t experience and flourish in free speech, just be wary of peoples reactions could be and if you are prepared for them.

All of these tips seem pretty logical, but human nature dictates that some times we will slip up, especially in the heat of the moment and in the pace in which we produce and publish content.

I’d like to make a comment…

I consider myself a very positive person who loves to motivate and nurture others to do their best. Amongst my Facebook friends and Twitter followers I am generally upbeat and will tell people how awesome they are, their photo is, and how great their news is. On other sites like LinkedIn or news media sites, I often make positive comments or leave constructive criticism, and always with respect. I am very conscious of modifying my own comments or opinions so as not to offend and to add value to the conversation. Read More

Smart phone technology and social media impact on photography

Hands up everyone who’s noticed a different kind of Facebook feed of the visual kind? There are more photos than ever before featuring on my timeline; in fact some research suggests that Facebook has the highest numbers of photos uploaded daily, around 250 million. This new trend is been driven by youth and brands. It’s the old adage “a picture can say a thousand words”.

I am a member of the Dee Why RSL Camera Club, a great group of people where I think the average age is hovering somewhere in the mid-fifties. I gave a two hour presentation on the impact that social media is having on our favourite form of art, photography. It can be a hot topic amongst professional and amateur photographers. I was pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction of my audience and the acceptance of this new trend. You can see the presentation below.

Smart phone technology and social media impact on photography from Melanie Wilde

The biggest concern that they had was overall privacy and the protection of their photos, “will people steal my work if I publish it on photo sharing sites”? This is a valid concern for many photographers as there appears to be very little you can do about it. My suggestion in the meeting was to load your photos in low resolution and add watermarks, much like they do in Shutterstock.

On the positive side, there are even more opportunities for amateur and professional photographers to get noticed and build their profile.  One of these is the iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS). Below are the 1st and second place winning photos, for the full list of winners, click here.  This is one way in which brands are using new trends in social and online media to create deeper connections with their users and create loyalty and engagement.  Its also shaping the way new technology is being manufactured with mobile devices upping the ante, for example the new Nokia Lumia.  Gizmodo are saying that the 1020 model ‘is the best Nokia mobile ever made”

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There are some great benefits of smart phone photography:

  • Firstly, its fairly cost effective, with so many people owning mobile phones that also double as a camera there is now no need to buy two different pieces of hardware.  For young people who aren’t retired and rolling in their super funds, this is a top selling point.
  • You don’t need fancy software or a PC.  Again, like the first point, you aren’t having outlay huge amounts of money on a good laptop or PC with big memory and then purchase photo processing software which is expensive like Photoshop or Lightroom.
  • Its quick.  Thanks to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the pace in which we produce content is speeding up.  With a smartphone, using one of the many apps available that range from free to around $4.99, you can publish a great photo which has had post processing applied in minutes.
  • Its global.  We are no longer restricted to entering photo competitions at the local camera club or newspaper, we can now enter world wide competitions to show off our artistic flair.  The ability to share around the world can only help to further inspire people to take more photos and document the world around them.

In saying this, I still love using my Nikon D90 SLR to capture high resolution, earthshattering images that take time to compose and craft to near perfection.  The variety of lenses and power of a DSLR or SLR camera are second to none, if you have the cash.  It really depends on why you want to take photos and what you want to use the finished product for.  I think a mix of both forms of photography is required, particularly in journalism or magazine/book publishing due to the high quality required, think motor sports, horse racing or travel.  The candid social media shots are a nice adjunct to professional photography which help humanise and connect with the common user or public.

I am now motivated to research this topic in more depth and create videos and presentations on some of the photo sharing platforms available, photo taking apps and new technology. Look out over the next few months for some more information regarding these topics.

Citizen journalism enhancing new media

Last weekend I participated in the Sydney City2Surf. Its been quite a while since I ran this race, so long in fact that the last time I ran with an iPod and a cell phone. Not a iPhone, Smart Phone, iPad or GoPro. My, how things have changed. Read More

The pitfalls of posting on social media

I rarely read a printed paper these days and as I looked over the shoulder of a friend at work, casually flipping through the pages of the Daily Telegraph, a particular article caught my eye. Phillip Carr, a promotions agent took a photo of himself unexpectedly while tagging @ByronBayCookies. The problem was, his mistaken selfie reflected in the teapot was nude. Read More

Social media phenomenon

Social media engagement is exploding across the world. A video I watched in a social media training course at work recently has summarised very quickly just how much this phenomenon has spread. Read More

An introduction

Hi! This is a blog dedicated to #MDIA5003, Online and Mobile Media. Each week I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on topics discussed in class that centre around ‘new media’ and its effect on the community. Almost all the photography will be my own, unless it’s something fun from another site.

After the semester finishes, who knows what this blog will do, I’m entirely excited about finding out.

Very quickly, a big thanks to Kath Albury for developing such an awesome course outline, I’m really going to have a lot of fun and can’t wait to learn something new.

I guess you must be wondering why the cute kitten photo? Well, I subscribe to Ragan, a PR website, and in one of their posts, 10 tips for great social media content, they commented that it was perfectly reasonable to fall back to the cute kitten photo. Everyone loves them, shares them, comments on them and likes them. Here’s hoping you like my first post even if it’s because of the cute kitten photo.

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