Thursday, July 13, 2017

All Things Education: When social media meets the academy

All Things Education: When social media meets the academy:

When social media meets the academy


After I started my PhD program, I gave up much of my social media and blogging activity (though not all). This was for reasons of time, energy, but also voice and skills. I read and write so much for school that it's not exactly what I feel like doing when I have free time. In addition, the skills and voice I use for blogging and education writing are different from those needed for scholarly education writing. And, I needed to take some time to learn the later. I have started writing more again recently--more on this here.

This dichotomy came up during a seminar (David L. Clark seminar) for doctoral students I was a participant in at the Annual AERA Meeting this past spring in San Antonio, during a panel discussion entitled "The Role of Education Research Outside of the Academy." On the panel was Morgan Polikoff, a professor of education policy at University of Southern California, who happens to be one of my pre-PhD program #edutwitter pals.

Morgan addressed the confluence of social media and academia. In a nutshell, he said that while it's important to still hold your work to high standards and to make certain stipulations before agreeing to work on non-academic enterprises, activity on social media and doing non-academic writing strengthens, and doesn't supplant, academic writing. It can also help academics to share, articulate, and get feedback/push back on their work and ideas, especially from those in education but outside of academia. 

I was glad to see Morgan advocate for academics having a place and presence on social media. I agree: Activity on social media and informal writing can be part of being a public intellectual and is a way for scholars to communicate with other academics and with non-academics in the same field.

But for me, I had a reverse path in that I was active and had a presence on social media before going into academia. While, as afore-mentioned, I took a break, there was no way I was going to walk that back or dismantle the web of connections and relationships I had made via social media and blogging, nor did I want to just discount all of the work and non-academic education writing I had done.

What's been especially tricky is the clashing of diminished power hierarchies on social media (not eliminated, mind you, 
All Things Education: When social media meets the academy:

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