Week 4: Social Media as Digital Platform for Academics

1. It is difficult for me to conceive of Twitter as a place for meaningful academic work mainly because of my issues with fragmentation, character limits, and difficulty in readability (it’s simply hard to follow). In this way, the forum inevitably causes conversation, brainstorming, workshopping, and feedback to be brief and most of all, as Dr. Ryan said, ephemeral. Where I do see potential in Twitter, is in the promotion of other forums, articles, or blogs. Twitter is a great place to share a link of an article or blog post to an audience of people in your field who may be interested. For instance, if I was to come across some interesting artifact relating to Wendy Coleman at the Southern California Library, and were to digitize it, this would be a fantastic digital piece to share via Twitter with a professor at UPENN I heard present on Wendy Coleman’s poetry last year. In fact, Twitter could be a great place to share links to what we do end up digitizing from the Southern California Library with other Scholars interested in Watts, as well as with community members in South Central LA. The accessibility of Twitter is open to everyone and it’s a platform that reaches beyond academia, which serves to reach larger audiences. Because the this digital archiving project already has the aim of accessibility and the goal of making information available – Twitter might be a great way of getting that information out there. 

2. The Twitter feed from #HILT2015 is demonstrating the potential to share useful information with other academics. For instance, one user referenced a “conversation about asking applicants to submit gender info” and then shared a link to an article titled, “New Categories Are Not Enough: Rethinking the Measurement of Sex and Gender in Social Surveys.” Another user posted a link to her article in “Inside Higher Ed” titled “Reflections of #HILT2015”. By sharing these articles, academics are able to keep a conversation going on a topic previously discussed in a class, conference, or other academic setting. Outside of sharing articles, one user posted a Word Cloud of William Byrd II’s “Virginia Diaries”. Sharing a Word Cloud via twitter is great because it is a fun, visual means of digital scholarship which is easy to evaluate and discuss. While these are only a few examples out of many, they demonstrate useful ways of sharing information on Twitter to those who either attended the course, or are interested in learning more about the subject.

3. Some sources on DH and Race/The “Digital Divide”: 
Richard Ohmann, “Literacy, Technology, and Monopoly Capital” 
Selfe, Cynthia L., and Richard J. Selfe, “The Politics of the Interface: Power and Its Exercise in Electronic Contact Zones” 
Moran Charles, and Cynthia L. Selfe, “Teaching English across the Technology/Wealth Gap” 


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