Week 4! What does our institution owe us?

I especially liked Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom’s piece this week:

To institutions: if you want the reputational currency of public scholars you’d better have institutional processes & courage to go with it— The Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom (@tressiemcphd) May 12, 2015

I can’t believe this piece is 4 years old. I’d like to have a frank conversation as an institution about context collapse and how our (employees of the College) social media content is and isn’t part of the institutional memory, may or may not be scholarship, and what our authors’ rights are. I know folks who have been questioned by the institution for critiquing or calling out the practices, policies, or actions of the institution online. “In this moment we should call for institutions to state explicitly what they owe those who venture into public waters.”

From this week’s McMillan Cottom’s piece, I linked out to her previous piece, https://tressiemc.com/uncategorized/forced-context-collapse-or-the-right-to-hide-in-plain-sight/ in which she writes about media organizations borrowing tweets from randoms:

Context collapse has mostly been about the control I can exert over how and when and where I perform the identity I think most appropriate for a situation. But what media organizations’ “tweet borrowing” does is strip me of that autonomy. They do this through a little idea called power. By virtue of being media and a company, these institutions are more powerful than little ol’ me. They have greater amplification power and more money to spend drowning out my resistance and more protection when they make a mistake than do individuals.

Again, what are our authors’ rights? Do we know how to respond to our digital scholarship being borrowed? How does digital scholarship coexist with everything else on the web? Are we taking the time to understand how much ownership we retain when we Tweet or vlog? We don’t have the rights of a public square on most of the popular social media platforms. And due to context collapse, are we ever not representing our institution? What does that mean for our digital scholarship? And how does our institution respond to that? And are we really savvy enough–as readers, analyzers, synthesizers–to recognize a scholarly tweet or blog post vs. a personal one in this age of context collapse? And if we’re not, then what?

(2) Comments

  1. Reid Riggle

    Big, important, questions. How do we build conversation across campus?

  2. Taylor

    “And due to context collapse, are we ever not representing our institution?”

    I’m not sure, but I think about this often. When I use Twitter, I tend to embrace the context collapse. No one’s work persona is completely separated from their other personas and vice versa, but that line of thought does have some unsettling implications for how accountable to my employer I might be on my “personal” social media accounts.

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