potential of social media


I'm not sure what category of the blog this falls under, but since our class on Wednesday I have been thinking all week about the potential of social media. Since I am a generally contrary person, spending so much time thinking about potential is a new thing for me and one that I have really enjoyed. I've been inspired to sign up for Twitter and try to shuck off my fears and distrust of online life (not completely, but within reason) by going fully public and actively seeking engagement with other scholars I don't yet know. While I haven't yet gotten the hang of how to feel like I am engaging rather than making disjunct statements (I think this has something to do with those pesky hashtags), I think I am really starting to see ways that Twitter can at least help me think on a daily basis about the relationship between what I do in the academy and what is of interest to those outside the academy.

Separately, I am refining my distrust of social media to be less about corporations as Big Brothers tracking my beliefs and realizing that perhaps the biggest risk to my privacy are actually the "friends" with whom I am sharing (see this week's This American Life for the inspiration).

I think all of this has enormous potential for my ability to engage with students online in more productive ways.


Thanks for posting this, meg k! It's great to read about your experiences here. You have inspired me to come up with another category/type of blog entry for the class: reflections on experimenting/engaging with social media. What if I just called it: Process/ing for short? If anyone has a better category title let me know. I imagine this category can be a space where we reflect on the process of using social media for our feminist pedagogical aims (how/what). It could also be a space where we engage in some processing/analyzing/critically reflecting on social media (why/why bother/when not to bother).

One more thing: what are some of the ways "that Twitter can at least help me think on a daily basis about the relationship between what I do in the academy and what is of interest to those outside the academy"?

a-ha! I'm so glad you ask. I would have said but was trying to limit myself to somewhere around 200 words!

Anyway, my goal with Twitter is to post one thing each day that I think is of some public relevance, i.e., not about how my day is going or a response to a friend but about something I'm thinking about as a sociologist that others on Twitter or the broader internet might find interesting. (I think Facebook is probably a much better locale for keeping friends in the loop about my day or what's going on in my life.) This will force me to think about how my daily work actually is or is not of interest to others beyond my immediate colleagues. The challenge, I'm finding so far, is to avoid simple platitudes.

I like what you're saying Meg, but of course we have to think about what defines "some public relevance." Who is the public and what does relevance mean? I think the lines can easily be blurred between updates about daily activities and something of "public relevance." Would you update about a political activity you were involved in? How would you define political? It can mean different things for different people. HOWEVER, I do like the idea of critically reflecting on what we are posting.

Hey Meg, I listened to that episode of This American Life. Great, great episode!! I think, in general, the problem for me with technology is not thinking about who to distrust, but how to use it to challenge the status quo (as is evident in that second act of This American Life.)

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