It’s great to see some of you from the Masterclass on Twitter! If you haven’t noticed from following our hashtag (
#ricedh), you can now follow Christina (@QVillarreal), Whitney (@whitney_nell), Sophie (@SophieHaase1), John (@johngmarks), Kelly (@kbweber), and Ben (@benjamingwright) on Twitter. Let me know in the comments if there are any of you missing from this list. (Ed.–You can also follow Wright.)
Speaking of Twitter, there was apparently a big discussion last weekend about the uses of social media at academic conferences, and in response Kathleen Fitzpatrick (who has been mentioned on this blog before) posted a good run-down of advice about academic tweeting. I think this paragraph is especially worth highlighting:
Use your blog/twitter/whatever professionally. This ought to be completely obvious, of course, but the key here is to really think through what professional use means in an academic context. In our more formal writing, we’re extremely careful to distinguish between our own arguments and the ideas of others — between our interpretation of what someone else has said and the conclusions that we go on to draw — and we have clear textual signals that mark those distinctions. Such distinctions can and should exist in social media as well: if you’re live-tweeting a presentation, you should attribute ideas to the speaker but simultaneously make clear that the tweets are your interpretation of what’s being said. The same for blogging. The point is that none of these channels are unmediated by human perspective. They’re not directly transmitting what the speaker is saying to a broader audience. And the possibilities for misunderstanding — is this something the speaker said, or your response to it? — are high. Bringing the same kinds of scrupulousness to blogging and tweeting that we bring to formal writing are is key. [Edited 12.55pm. Bad English professor!]
What do you think about the potential for and challenges of Twitter and blogs at academic conferences? Feel free to share in the comments or on, er, Twitter!