At this year’s MLA Convention, I was invited to give a workshop on getting started on social media, namely, Twitter. It was an interesting full-circle moment for me, as is writing this piece; my first ProfHacker appearance was because of my virtual participation at MLA11.
I’ve written recently for ProfHacker about why I still find Twitter valuable. And apparently, many academics are, if not seeing the value, then at least interested enough to attend a session by me at the MLA Convention in 2017. I realized, while preparing for the workshop (who am I kidding, it was on the fly while I was giving the workshop), that the landscape of Twitter has changed tremendously since us “early adopters” fumbled around on the platform back in the late Aughts.
So an introduction to Twitter for Academics necessarily has to be different in 2017 than even a few short years ago (I’ve been doing this for a while). What I provide here is an expanded version of what I said in the workshop.
The first thing to do is to set up your handle, which (say it with me) doesn’t have to be your name. Nor does your real name have to be present. Nor does where you work or live be included in your biography. Nor do you have to turn on your location. Nor does it have to be your picture in the avatar box. It does not guarantee full anonymity, but it does give you a layer of protection.
Social media has made its way into almost every area of our lives, but much of it still operates outside limits that are set in the real world. Sadly our laws are insufficient to deal with online crime – and that includes hate speech.
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