Slack, Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp: My main online networks
In looking at who I interact with online and how I interact with them, I see that much depends on the platform that I am using. As I mentioned last week, I use Twitter mainly for staying abreast of information in my field and connecting with other scholars, while Facebook has become a sort of catch-all for the many people that I’ve come into contact with over the years; it is mostly friends, family, and former students, although there are a few academic acquaintances that have been in my network for awhile now.
I don’t post often in Facebook, and in fact, I rarely use Facebook to interact “publicly” with those closest to me. For these individuals, I tend to use iMessage and WhatsApp, with the latter being the platform that I use to communicate with my closest friends. When I think about it, WhatsApp is what has helped my group of friends to remain close now that we all live in different cities. In fact, our daily group chats make it so that we can pick up wherever we last left off when we talk on the phone or see each other in person.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, in Slack I interact with a community of writers and researchers, whose real names and faces I will never know. Taking part in a group like this would have sounded odd to me a few years ago, but their company, solidarity and words of encouragement helped me through the lonely task of writing a dissertation.
New directions and reflections on developing my personal learning network.
Within the last year or so, I have started using Facebook for more professional purposes. I now follow quite a few academic groups and departments to find out what the conversations in my field are and what other departments of languages, literatures, and culture are talking about. Nevertheless, I don’t post on their wall or share their posts on mine. This is mostly because I am aware of my audience on Facebook, and no one in my family is going to want to know more about the Spanish Film Series going on at the University of Kansas, for example. I know that I want to develop my personal learning network (PLN) more, and that is one of the reasons that I joined DigPINS, but I also know that I probably won’t be doing so through Facebook, as Twitter seems to be the better venue for this.
The readings this week have definitely made me think more about how I want to continue to curate my Twitter network, and I found the Nicky Case narrative game to be an informative (and fun!) way of helping me to visualize the way that networks work. I already follow a diverse group of academics on Twitter that specialize in a variety of fields that interest me, and I have found that doing so is helpful for learning about conferences, articles, and new books that have just come out. In addition, many also post teaching and writing resources that are useful for what I do. In the future, I would like to share more professional resources on Twitter and engage in conversations with other academics.
As I wrap up my reflections for this week, something that I’ve been wondering is how others deal with information overload. (Again, I’m thinking about the social media detox!) Does anyone have any strategies on managing this? Sometimes when I go on Twitter, I see so many interesting posts, articles, books, and comments, that in the end it just feels overwhelming. I want to cast a wide enough net where I see a variety of posts and conversations, but at times it just feels like I am being pulled in too many directions at once. Also, piggybacking on some of the sentiments in the article “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation,” as my social media networks have begun to gravitate towards topics related to my field, I wonder if I have internalized the idea that I should be working all the time–including on social media.