Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Academic Tweeting

When do I use Twitter?  First, I have all the blog posts from The Way of Improvement Leads Home sent directly to my Twitter feed (follow me @johnfea1).  Second, I occasionally tweet academic conferences. For example, I was the top tweeter at this year's American Historical Association conference in New Orleans.

I rarely post a random tweet that has nothing to do with a conference or the blog.  I thus use Twitter primarily, and almost solely, for professional purposes. Since I joined Twitter about a year ago, the number of people who read The Way of Improvement Leads Home has grown considerably. 

Over at The Junto, Joseph Adelman explores some of the positive aspects and the negative aspects of academic tweeting.  Here is a taste:

On the other hand, I like to think of myself as relatively clear on some of the drawbacks of Twitter. First of all, it takes time. We all get exactly 168 hours a week, unless you’ve figured out some sort of wormhole thing that you haven’t shared with the rest of us. Time on Twitter is time you are not doing something else. And yes, it’s not the place for nuance—at least once a month I end up in a conversation that goes off in a silly/bad direction because it’s hard to get one’s point across in a sophisticated way in 140 characters. It has also in the past year or so (at least on my feed) seemed to become a bit more of a closed loop. That is, it’s become a bit harder to my mind to offer unorthodox opinions. I still find it an enormously useful service, but lately I’ve found it somewhat less welcoming. I don’t think it reflects well on the humanities, nor does it bode well for the possibilities of the service. But that may be a topic for another post.