In college, I had a friend who told me her mother advised her: never put anything in print that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the New York Times. At the time, I thought it was callous and overly formal, but I’ve come around to see the wisdom in being careful with your “indelible” words. As someone who is quick to speak and favors the irreverent and flippant, writing and anticipating an audience is a helpful check. What works in speech, especially face-to-face, doesn’t always translate in writing. [Interesting side note: the college friend went on to become a writer and has just published her first novel, Alternative Remedies for Loss.]
Sarah wrote earlier today about the challenge of representing oneself clearly and authentically, especially with those whom we lack the foundation of face-to-face time, what she called “bigger context of who [we are].” I’m thinking about a version of that challenge as I head into teaching my first online course: how to build authentic and meaningful relationships digitally without being able to “read the room” in the way I can with a traditional class. My goal in public writing is a voice that is engaging and authentic, but I’m wondering already if positioning writing as the primary means of meeting and getting to know one another is too limited and static.
Autumm and Joe have set a good tone and inspired me with the mix of synchronous and asynchronous interactions for DigPINs. I’m looking forward to taking notes and learning from you all. Also, if you have any specific pointers for building community online, please send them my way.
Image is “Dec. 22, 2015″ by artist Fred Tomaselli. Collage and gouache on watercolor paper, 11″ x 14”, 2016.