Today we are discussing twitter and lived experience, daily habits, authenticity and sharing. Before we get into that, here are a few announcements:
- No class next week
- Here's the entry that I posted with a recap of final assignments. Any questions?
- Any other questions (you can post them as comments to this entry too)?
Here's a breakdown of the class:
- Pedagogical questions
- Discussion of readings and topic
- Break at 5:20
- Begin Twitter group's presentation/assignment at 5:30
A few thoughts...
Today we are discussing twitter and its value (or lack of value) for our practices and visions of feminist pedagogy. We could talk about the limits and possibilities of twitter in many different ways in relation to feminism and feminist pedagogies. For example, how does twitter work for (and/or against) activism? Lots of folks are critically reflecting on this question. Earlier in the semester, we discussed Malcolm Gladwell's article about twitter and "Why the Revolution Will not beTweeted" (check out ha78na's response here). Over at DigiActive, they put together a guide to Twitter for Activism. And Ronak Ghorbani offers up a series of podcasts + analysis on tweeting feminists. We could also talk about how twitter works in encouraging back channel conversations in classrooms (during lectures and discussions) and in conferences. We already started to talk about the problems and possibilities of twitter in this way in our discussion of "Designing Choreographies for Attention" a few weeks ago. Sample Reality offers up an interesting take on the value of "snark" in the classroom. In terms of using twitter for conference conversations, check out how it was used in the 2010 NWSA conference (they had the live feed on their website). A couple of my queering desire students used it to live tweet yesterday's Interrogating Complicities conference too.
While we can continue these conversations today (and online), I wanted to add in another important topic concerning twitter and feminist pedagogy: Lived Experience, Daily Habits, Authenticity and Sharing. Here are some key questions for me:
- What sort of authentic expressions are possible via twitter?
- Is authenticity counter to/in conflict with performativity/performance?
- Ped Question (danny): How is performance informed differently for different bodies? Do spaces like Twitter allow for a "true" reflection of ourselves or do we perform there too?
- Can we use twitter to express (and value) our lived experiences?
- What are the problems and possibilities of expressing/relying on/invoking lived experiences?
- In a youtube video about twitter it is suggested that twitter is concerned with documenting "the real life that happens between blog posts and emails." What value do you see in expressing and documenting these aspects of real life?
- See johnnyblaze513's ped questions.
- How are those expressions valued and/or devalued when presented in twitter-logic (with 140 characters + random followers + the impulse to be witty and "cute" and quick)?
- What happens when our authentic/crafted/performed tweets are taken up by others? Joel Johnson writes:
Is Twitter designed in order to "other" people? Does it encourage us to pay attention to each other in ways that are objectifying and oppressive? Can we imagine sharing and expression of self in ways outside of this model? Does twitter allow for that? What does Zandt think? How is Johnson defining "creepy" people here?It's a website where people post things they choose to display to the public, including--unless one has a perfect follower-to-follows ratio or a private account--several people you don't know at all who choose to pay attention to your life, your thoughts, and whatever else you choose to share.Rather than worry that I might be viewed as a sociopath for using Twitter exactly in the way for which it was designed, I choose to instead be excited about all the new people and perspectives that are right at my eyeballs' fingertips. But that doesn't mean I want--or am even capable of--becoming fast friends with every single person I observe (or read, or watch, or whatever) on the internet. No one really wants that--except for creepy people.
- Can sharing help build up trust and empathy?
- How should we think about sharing in relation to the binary of production/consumption?
- Check out what Deanna Zandt has to say about the value of social networks for sharing and mapping relationships:
We've always belonged to multiple spheres, but in the offline world, the piece that was missing was clear documentation or mapping of those relationships. We could exchange information about ourselves, but physical limitations and social expectations prevented us from widespread information sharing. You wouldn't, say, set up a conference call with a bunch of people you know casually to talk about your family vacation... it would have been expensive and culturally weird.Now using a variety of tools -- email, social networks like Facebook and MySpace, microblogging services like Twitter -- we have the ability to create maps of our relationships. I don't mean maps in the pictorial sense, like a giant family tree or anything. I mean maps in the pathway sense. We are able to create and use very direct pathways to engage in immediate, many-to-many conversations with people in our social networks by sharing our experiences with one another.Those pathways create the opportunity for us to take advantage of our relationships in revolutionary ways, particularly when we share information with each other, rather than simply receiving information passively from sources outside of our personal relationships.
What benefits and drawbacks can you imagine in this ability to map and take advantage of our relationships?
- Does twitter/tweeting encourage us to be more "authentic" or less authentic or both?
- What sorts of practices does it encourage or discourage?
- Are we more authentic when we tweet a lot--is tweeting about amassing lots of tweets that, when taken collectively, make visible a tentative crafting of a version of the authentic self? Is tweeting a lot, without careful reflection, central to twitter's "authentic" possibilities? Is this something to encourage or discourage in the classroom?
- Can/should we (as instructors) use twitter to express our beliefs? What is relationship between "authenticity" and beliefs?
- What about our "feelings"--can we express them through twitter? (hmm...is this part of the "snark" that Sample Reality discusses?) Does twitter encourage us to express our "outlaw emotions" (Fisher, 69)? What are the benefits and drawbacks of those expressions?
- On page 74, Fisher discusses the need for spontaneity and intentionality in theory-buliding (especially theory built from/in relation to experience). How do spontaneity and intentionality work within twitter/tweets? How does Orenstein imagine them working? How have we negotiated them in our tweets?
One last set of questions: Is twitter fundamentally flawed? Is it possible to use it subversively and disobediently (in ways that it was never intended) in order to further our feminist goals? How might we use it in tandem with other methods (a both/and instead of either/or model)?
Even more thoughts...
I have been thinking and writing about twitter a lot this semester. Here are a couple of my recent entries: