Any digital tool or platform that allows for an exchange to take place (whether it is a social exchange, an exchange of data, the sharing of research etc.) has the potential to facilitate “collaborative scholarly work.” We spent much of last class discussing the inadequacies of certain social media sites and how frankly, most attempts to co-opt them for scholarly use can read as unproductive or contrived in some way. I have been considering this question over the last few days and am not sure I have fully fleshed out how to combat my skepticism towards social media and academic practice. Rather than allowing my ambivalence to limit the potential relationships that might exist in the intersection between the two, I’ve tried to reconsider these sites and services in a more charitable, optimistic, and productive light. Below I have listed several social media platforms and the ways in which they might benefit a collaborative, academic exchange:
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.
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.
Address all of the following prompts and please let us know if you have questions:
1.) Yesterday we explored the possibility of repurposing online social networking services (but also online platforms more generally) for academic/scholarly work. We also talked about some of the hazards and limits of these kinds of endeavors.
Consider one of the services we discussed (Twitter) or another service/platform that you are familiar with (Facebook; Genius; Pintrest). (Set aside for the moment blogging services like WordPress and Tumblr). Do these sites/services have any capacities or affordances that could be harnessed for collaborative scholarly work? This could be work that results in permanent content or a permanent archive. Or it could be more ephemeral group work: brainstorming, sharing feedback, workshopping.
Before answering the explicit questions posed in this prompt, I’d like to devote some of my response to addressing the issues Dr Noble raised in her essay and the larger issues implicated in a discussion of technology, the hegemony, and the inscription of gender, racial, and socioeconomic identities.
In The Fire Next Time, Baldwin asserts that the “white world” has formulated a mythology revolving America. Yet this mythology is one whose falseness the Black man is aware of although his countrymen (white world) has yet to come to that realization. For his (white) identity is embedded in that mythology and consequently so are their notions of blackness and to reveal it as such, to admit the mythology is just that, that it is a lie, a falsehood, to renege on what they have defined as blackness would be to give way to the factors with which they conceptualize whiteness. To expose it all as a lie would be to destroy the very foundations of the white identity. It would be an erasure of America and consequently of whiteness. Yet Baldwin seems to suggest that only this would allow for Blacks to emerge from the state of invisibility that they have been condemned to and therefore provide for a mutual state of freedom. Yet the erasure of this mythology is therefore highly problematic for whites for once they are devoid of this binary and the mythology of what America is, with this mirror that reflects only the self and no other what would be seen? I think both Baldwins and Noble’s works speak to issues of representation and the manner in which mythologies are created to serve one group. The systems that create them then gain and maintain power by marginalizing others and Noble demonstrates the manner in which our current society contributes to that. Noble’s research on Google demonstrated how it facilitates and allows its biased searches to be thought of as neutral and how this perpetuates negative representations and essentially the silencing of Black women.
For a lesson plan to be most effective, there should be a goal achieved by the end by both the instructor and the students. At a high school level class, I believe the best way to approach the topic of Google is through the technology that we utilize of theirs every day, driving the point that it has already infiltrated and dominated our lives. The goal then of this lesson plan is to allow the students to be at least aware, at most cynical about the activities that Google produces in them, and an awareness of the value of good research (this coming from a Teaching Fellow that just spent a semester with Freshmen asking them to conduct sound and detailed research). As I said, I think the best way to do this is through the use of the product, and so I would go Google Chrome, which I do believe is the best search engine with the ease of my tailored needs, and explain that to the students, along with the access and programs available through a free Google account is incredible: Google drive to create, store and share all your documents, slideshows, graphs, tables, and more, which is of great importance as we have discovered in a digital age to have backups of everything available online (Box, Dropbox, and others are examples of non-Google driven storage). Next, I would pull up YouTube, the Google owned and extremely dominant video upload cite, to pull search the video “Google Don’t Be Evil”. The first video that pops up is this: “Google’s Plan for World Domination.” Please, take a look.
The illusion of neutrality and machine-like objectivity are definitely understandings which permeate the use of technology. However, our discussion of the prejudice enmeshed with the algorithms in search engines like Google was something that made perfect sense to me. I don’t know a lot about algorithms or the way search engines function, but Dr. Noble’s explanation of “the man behind the curtain” was certainly easy enough for me to understand and sequentially evaluate. Therefore, I am under the impression that the difficulty in teaching bias in Google to undergraduates may be overestimated.
Library of Congress Category: Information Resources, subclass ZA – either Information Superhighway (!), Electronic Information Resources, or Computer Network Resources
Library of Congress Subject Headings:
suggested: search engines, hegemony, neo-liberalism, computer algorithms (all 4 found!)
Required – Do the following after you have written your response:
a.) Look at the Library of Congress Classifications and determine the category in which your post should go.
b.) Propose 4 keywords that most closely describe your post and search those terms in the Library of Congress Subject Headings database to see if they exist. For terms that are not already there, search for ones that most closely match them. Include both your original keywords and the LC terms in your post.
I realize using the LC is new to you. Just do your best.