Week 4: Internet Social Space for Scholastic Socializing: The Highs and Lows of Facebook and Twitter for the Academic Discussion

In my own experiences, Facebook has been a benefit for my scholarly pursuits due to its ability to a) create groups dedicated to something, which allows for a variety of options (to be discussed), b) can be as open or exclusive as one would wish (I.e. We used them for group projects and instant messaging brainstorming with around 10 people, more or less in my own experience), and c) the archiving aspect of Facebook is, I would argue, easy to search through than Twitter (turning to Twitter due to our discussion the other day in which I shared that it was difficult for me to follow along and others agreed), whereas Facebook allows for you to search within the group/within Facebook in general. 
I’d like to break down the options of what Facebook does allow: it now allows for longer posts, and longer replies, creating a space for a richer discussion, one that can be as long as you need to express, divulge, or create your scholarly work. It is intuitive with the use of links, allowing for copy paste functions (without again the loss/confusing search of Twitter in my opinion, nor the loss of space to post). Facebook allows you to upload whole files and share them, much like a Google Drive account, but instead of having to seek out and select all of the email addresses of the Facebook group that you would like to share to through Google, Facebook instantly uploads to the group, from which you can instead edit out those whom you do not wish to see it, if that be the case.  Facebook allows polls with real feedback ability, of both numbers and opinions; it promotes the use of links, sharing, photographs, memes, gifs, YouTube videos quickly and easily.

Its own downfalls however, and this is a note for all social media, is that due to its social roots which are fun filled, it can be very quickly a distracting place where the gathered community will post funny and silly things, rather than sticking to only serious discussion, which can divert the intent to the group. I’m sure many of us have experienced this ourselves while on Facebook and as was seen in the both Twitter feeds that we have now gone through as a class, there were moments when the whole flow of conversation was stopped with a joke (Lurkers are like concert goers). 

As I said, I have used Facebook in a scholarly collaborative effort in the past; my PoCo class required a digital project of a “video report”, pretty much a PowerPoint picture presentation with a voiced over script, which demanded our utilizing digital and video software. Facebook was a suggested “meeting place” for all the individual groups to provide images, script ideas, and overall collaboration for this project, and I saw it as a great success in being able to gather that information, quickly and orderly to one location that was not email, nor a coffee shop where we would have to exchange the digital information over the Internet anyways, or a slower process of thumb sticks (upload and download files from 5 other people in your group would take a long time).

In regards to Twitter’s ability, I believe it would be a great secondary location of being able to promote projects that are put together, or inform others (much like the professor of Wisconsin) in a succinct manner, but the limitations are 1) your followers, many of whom would be friends, but is therefore not exclusive if you desired that, and possibly (as we discussed about the separation  of public and private) not interested in your discussion. 2) the need to be succinct. I think sharing a quick link, or a thought can be productive in the space of Twitter, and shared very rapidly to gain a following, we’ve seen this in pop culture since the creation of Twitter.  But the brief responses to a more nuanced discussion did not imply to me that Twitter was as capable a space as Facebook.

But with this in mind, I now turn to the second Twitter feed conversation, to see how the #HILT2015 conference was able to utilize Twitter to their advantage. 

This flow of posts did not have to deal with a particular question, or any kind of discussion, rather it was a promotion board, one that anyone following the tag #HILT2015 could turn to for finding out what classes or discussions were being offered, what they were producing, and what people of the community of DH found to be entertaining, light heated scholarly work (i.e. That Breakfast of champions playful photo, or the post of the exhaustion of the mind after four days of intense DH collaborative work, and yet still pleased). This is what I described as Twitter being the better space for than Facebook would provide, a quick almost landing page like atmosphere of being able to post a link and move on, tag a friend to meet up for lunch and allowing anyone else to join because they’ll be discussions such and such news that they have discovered while at the conference. The links were informative, the posts about classes/discussions were encouraging others to join, and if they did not know what the class was about, this outlet would have helped conference goers make a choice to go. This use of Twitter is much more becoming of its attributes and abilities to share quickly and succinctly something that is larger and scholarly , rather than attempting to have a full discussion with such a small area to write in. It encouraged people to share their discoveries, their classes for more collaboration in person, and the ability of people to quickly gather around a topic and become friends about it, or in other words, trace a handle that made an interesting post and follow them. The HILT2015 conference was a much better use of Twitter than the DigiPed users have utilized it and I would be more willing, and capable of understanding or following the flow of the Twitter feed as the conference Tweeters used it than the DigiPed users. 


And lastly, here are a few links and descriptions of the information I found in regards to Critique of the Digital Humanities approach in Academia. 

A major resource which included two of the 4 papers I utilized  in my discussion: Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies , Spring2014, Vol. 25 Issue 1 which focused solely on the Digital Humanities, its effects and its future. 

Second, “Towards a Cultural Critique of the Digital Humanities” by Domenico Fiormonte. 
These were the main draw of my reading research, but I have more to go through for our final annotated Bibliography 

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