MLA: Comments on Open Professoriat on the Web

This is a live blogging of the session.

One audience member says that her department publishes their stuff and their community fights for them because of it.
Interesting. I wonder what manner it is published and publicized.

Is there a disconnect in the way that we talk to each other and the way that we would need to talk to others?
Vincelette: When I stared writing for ProfHacker, my parents started reading ProfHacker. Knowing that my mom and dad were reading what I am writing, I am conscious of writing in a voice that is not jargon-heavy or theory-heavy.

It is something that we as academics need to be aware of.

We have all read work which is too heavy for our reading, even though it is written in our “native language” (academic register).

French: I try to write in an accessible manner. I use jargon and people read my stuff on Victorian poetry and email me.

Cohen: Shifting of registers on Twitter. So others might be drawn in to reading the academic.

Vincelette: Things have their own language. A mix of public and personal persona.

It’s not necessary for the public to understand what you are doing to appreciate you are doing it. I would say the public does understand it more than we think, but they don’t have to.

?: Medium is the social message. We use it in a way that belies the nuance of the message. What you say is changed. (So the same problem happens that happens with the trivialization of mainstream media.)

Wondering if we want to complicate the narrative of the meritocracy with a discussion of reputation (mathematics of reputation)?

French: Alluded to reputation. Have no idea who is reading my print article. I don’t know how I could find out. I can track what people read on my blog. I like that. You can judge me if you want. Social media has it all over in terms of creating tracking system.

Twenty people read the article.

If there was a public reputation economy, would it change the way we write? Not necessarily shady search-engine optimizations? Would we care?

French: It is true that we are already … our reputation is already being looked at. Our metrics are looked at in an indirect way. How many books and articles? What impact factor? The impact factor is how many times the journal has been cited.

Your reputation is already being tabulated.

?: Citing something is not the same as reading it. (Yeah!) Downloading something isn’t the same as reading it either.

Social networks allow us to be honest about the fact that we are not a meritocracy. We’re not a meritocracy.

If I pit the vibrant social media conversation against the stodgy textbook, how do I teach my students to be aware?

Vincelette: My students are nervous of Twitters. They don’t like it as a public medium. In a pedagogical sense, they are attracted to the older stuff because they understand it and no what it means for their grade.

?: Social networks have always existed. Social network of the Enlightenment. (Dan will be speaking here in the next session.)

Blurring of private/public, what does that mean for our persona maintenance if we have to do it for our professional life?

French: If you think that people should engage with the public, then you should use social media.

Vincelette: No such thing as privacy any more.

Jason Jones was a tweet where “student” was tweeted about. Became a union issue. Given all the things we have to keep private for our students, we need to be aware and be careful to protect the details.

Social reputation.
Reputation is a big factor in getting a grant.
Any kind of collaborative project with a big team is that reputation. Grant people talk about the grad students; they’ve seen them on Twitter or blogging.

Social media is a very attractive tool for getting your work out there.

Just because you are using social media it doesn’t mean you are publishing your private life online.

French: People are formal essentialists. Form = content. Stereotypes about it. Blogs were about your boring life. No. Blog is a technology platform. Same thing with Twitter, but plus ten. Does not have to be trivial just because it is small.

People can use social media to produce art work.

LeeAnn Hunter said academics need to be more open to what business practices enable.

When we are engaged in social media, we are feeding businesses. We are creating value in Facebook, or whatever. They survive based on content that is created by other people.

How do we see how that matches with businesses?

The handshake with business.

It can be exploded to your purpose. So the tactical-strategy thing presented.

What if we thought of it as a way to transform academia? Who reads it? How do we write it? A way for us to rethink publishing in journals where people have to pay for?

Either we publish in journals or we are working with business. (Really? I am blogging on my own blog on my own domain. Am I working with business? I bought the domain name. I buy the space. So, perhaps. But when I teach I wear clothes. Does that mean I am supporting Macy’s?)

Aware of your audience in a different way when you are using social media.

How do you see the future of open reputation being seen by the academy?

When they did my hire, they do the Google test. They were looking for someone who did something.

There is a danger with being this open.

But those who are safe from the power dynamic, they need to exploit that. Make it a move. Make it a practice. Make it safe for other people to do as well.

French: Reputation moves quantitative metric. I get speaking invitations from random people on Twitter. I am creating reputation. The way t&p works; they get your peers to say whether your work is good and use metrics.

Vincelette: Different colleges value different things. My institution doesn’t require a lot of peer-reviewed publications because of teaching loads.

French: To me social media, online things generally, let you measure. Right now though you have to make your own case. You can bring in social media to engage your students. Argue for your own use of social media.

If we had a press that measured the college press, online with own data, that would be awesome for t&p.

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