Social Networking

Social networking can include any web-based tool with a social component: Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, professional/scholarly listservs, etc. Whereas Web Presence is more focused on you creating an established online site or artifact, Social Networking is more focused on your digital interactions with graduate students, professors, and professionals relevant to your work in and outside of the lab. >>>

I started an “academic” tumblog on Tumblr in 2011 ( I have had a personal Tumblr since New Year’s 2009, and I’ve created more than a dozen tumblrs for different themes or purposes, so I chose Tumblr for my academic blog because I was already quite familiar with the interface, and because I understood how to get it to do what I wanted it to. It also made cross-posting from my personal blog easy, and it’s easy to reblog and comment on posts from tumblrs I follow with my personal account. It doesn’t seem like a lot of academics have tumblrs, though I did strike a certain vein of graduate students on tumblr that are some of my favorite reads. Last December, I started posting more on my tumblr from “what I’m reading today“–a simple way to share striking passages and short reflections from the daily experience of scholarly writing. I’d really like this idea to catch on, so I encouraged @rhet-eric to join tumblr, and I hope to build a group of my graduate school friends doing the same. But I guess I understand my tumbling academically as a sort of resistant or loner form of social networking. The network is not very big right now: that tumblr has 36 followers. The followers that I don’t know in real life, I don’t know very well at all. (My personal tumblr has 282 followers. I definitely don’t follow everyone back.)

My personal Twitter account (@kendalljoy), which goes back to August 2008, now has 211 followers. I’ve started several other Twitter accounts (including @levinas140), but it’s much harder to switch between accounts in Twitter than in Tumblr, and I probably need to adopt some third party software to maintain my other accounts more actively. Unlike on Tumblr, I don’t make a distinction between personal and academic Twitter accounts. To write this reflection, I downloaded my archive a set of files you can view in offline in a browser window. Again, my Twitter account feels to me more like an anti-social network, but while my earliest tweets are about going into the other room to get an apple, within the month I was also tweeting about my first acceptance to 4Cs. I started tweeting conferences at RSA in 2012, which I find is actually an engaging way to take notes and share thoughts on presentations. I’ve also made several new friendships over Twitter, many of which live long beyond one conference and generate all sorts of fresh conversations. Twitter also lead me to another great tool, Storify, which I used to collate tweets from the Failure conference in February 2013.

For others thinking about their own approaches to social media, I recommend Collin Brooke’s post on social media streams (Brooke’s streams). A tweet-length summary might say: the field is fed by its streams. #metaphor