Critical Citizen

For me, the need to become a critical citizen has drastically changed in the last four years, this was also the time my professional career was beginning. I used Facebook particularly to connect with friends, family and acquaintances, but I was going to be on the job market and realized it could affect my professional career. As a result, I started deleting all my posts and then decided I had to delete my accounts. A year later, I opened new social media accounts and was very strategic in the ways I used them. I found it was a different experience, I had less friends and a lot more professional networks but also more work. It became common for students to ask for letters of recommendation via social platforms or for students to comment on my teaching. These apps felt a lot like my Soots or my professional e-mails, so again I decided to change how I was using these apps.

I currently use Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, Slack, Skypeand Google specifically for academic purposes. In these social platforms, I mainly interact with academics, writers, professors, graduate students, researchers, and colleagues. I am happy with my current online interaction, although at times I feel I’ve had to sacrifice personal and social relationships with the people I know. For me, it was either a professional identity or a personal one, having multiple audiences was a challenge I was not ready to undertake. Perhaps, as I grow in my professional career I can change the ways I interact online. This goes back to a question Cristina made in her earlier blog, “how important will [my digital identity] be when I go up for tenure?” This is a tricky question, having a digital identity may affect our professional career but also not having one can have the same effect. It almost becomes suspicious for a person not to have a digital identity or be a critical online citizen. It is as if our online presence is a form of ID and not having one can implicate a lack of existence, credibility or citizenship.

Image CCO Author Andres Chapparro from Pexels

(5) Comments

  1. Cristina

    I still think about this, Judy. Especially with online platforms like Twitter. Are people reviewing our T & P file going to go to our Twitter page and review what we’ve said/done for the past few years?? Who has time for that? I’ve got a strong aversion to twitter, which I was reminded of this week…Guess I’ll be writing another blog for the week!!

  2. Cassie

    I talked about how I am so careful about what I post because it really could damage me in searching for a job after I graduate. I am going to talk about this more in my blog but there have been so many celebrities lately who have had their career basically ended for tweets or posts from ten or more years ago and that is a very scary thought.

  3. Avery

    Thank you for this post, Judy. I was shocked by students reaching out to you via social media for professional references! Am I being up-tight or naive? I feel like it isn’t the right venue….

  4. Judy Cervantes

    Avery, this was happening much too often. I agree, completely not the right venue, especially when they had my e-mail information.

  5. cc

    ‘…the right venue’ We need a 21st century social media Emily Post’s etiquette primer:)
    We are in the middle of a huge social experiment that will all shake out eventually with new norms, and we’re just going to have to go ahead and make mistakes and face serendipitous and unpleasant consequences without guidance or wisdom. I ping-pong between a sense of anxiety, excitement, and opportunity.
    I am afraid that this time of experimentation will be taken advantage of by the unscrupulous, but collectively we can overcome whatever ugliness happens.
    Norms have already changed radically. It feels like communication is changing societies at the rate that transportation and electricity changed us at the beginning of the 20th century. I talk to children and adults who have been incarcerated for a long time and are released into the middle of this. It’s not just the technology or the apps that are new, it’s the accumulation of years of subtle changes in how we communicate that leaves them feeling like they’ve been released into a completely different world.

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