Reflecting with/about/on twitter

While many of my students are still not sold on the value of twitter in the classroom, I find it incredibly useful in my own research, writing and teaching; I’m hoping to experiment even more with it this spring as a writing/thinking/processing tool. I’m also interested in developing ways to succinctly and compellingly articulate how and why twitter is valuable in academic and non-academic spaces. When I first started writing this post, I was planning to provide a list of links that I had bookmarked or put in my safari reading list. Somehow that project stalled (I had started writing this about a week ago and only managed to write about one link: Can you use twitter in your classroom? ). This morning I read an article that I found on twitter over the weekend, Why Authors Tweet, and started imagining this post on twitter differently. 

Why Authors Tweet I’m always interested in exploring how people use twitter in their writing process. Up to this point, my twitter focus (twocus…STA, that one’s for you) has been on how twitter works/doesn’t work in feminist and queer theorizing, teaching and writing. This year, I’d like to give some attention to how people are using it imaginatively for their creative (and not just critical) expressions. I like this tweet from Mat Johnson:

Here’s a list of reasons, culled from the article, of why some authors use twitter:

  • allows author to be playful (Salman Rushdie) and humorous (Mat Johnson)
  • enables author to get a sense of what’s on people’s minds at any give time (Salman Rushdie)
  • gives author access to readers’ thoughts/feelings/experiences with their novels (Jennifer Gilmore)
  • encourages author to engage with readers and other writers (Mat Johnson)
  • makes author feel like they are “living in the future” (D.A. Powell)
  • expands collaboration by bringing readers into process (Jennifer Weiner)
  • provides opportunity for moving outside and resisting writing as promotion/selling–not about whose book is promoted most, but whose tweets are most interesting (Mat Johnson)

In reading through this article, I started thinking about the role of the author and what we can/should know about them. Instead of writing on this post about it (admittedly, my brain was a little stuck), I decided to do a series of tweets about the theme. I offer them up (using storify) as one experiment in using twitter in the writing process. Was this helpful? Successful? Not totally sure, yet. (note: not sure why it seems to take storify so long to load. If you can’t see my list of tweets below, click here to find them.)

Who uses Apps?

This past summer, I became fascinated with smartphone Apps. I’m really interested in thinking about their potential for cultivating ethical (and virtuous) practices, particularly in relation to troublemaking and care. I plan to write a lot about apps in 2012: which ones I use, how I use them, how to trouble them, how to read them with/against self-help products. The first app I hope to write about soon is Bloom (first reaction: ugh and self-help is too tied to business and financial success). For now, I thought I’d post some details from Pew Research and an App study from their Internet and American Life Project. These charts come from Part 4: What types of Apps are adults downloading?

For Figure 11, I wonder: why is race only Black and White? Pew Research has had some other studies (like this one) that discuss smartphone use among Latinos. After doing some digging, I discovered that Latinos (Hispanics) are mentioned in the full report. So, why are they left off of the abbreviated one? And why aren’t other races/ethnicities considered, like Asian American? Is it because they weren’t statistically significant (I must admit, I really don’t know much about statistics…)?

Finally, I wanted to add this figure on managing health, because I’m becoming increasingly interested in how people are using apps to care (physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually) for themselves.

more on white privilege and challenging racism with humor

A few weeks ago, I posted some resources for thinking critically about privilege. Here are a few more that came to my attention in the last 72 hours or so:

1. Yo, is this racist? I first saw this tumblr blog several weeks ago when a facebook friend posted it. I was reminded of it after reading this Colorlines interview with the creator/writer of the blog. Here’s how Andrew Ti  describes his overall goal:

“What I would like to have, the resource that seems most needed based on the questions in general and the hatemail from indignant white people,” says Ti, “is just an examination of white privilege, and of all privilege in America. That’s what I try to bring to the table, without being too serious about it: an examination of privilege. Because at the end of the day, I’m making jokes and making fun of people, and if that sting of embarrassment can make one in a hundred people think, ‘why is that? Why do I feel this way?’ That’s what I can bring.

2. Another resource that uses humor to expose, examine and challenge white privilege is Franchesca Ramsey’s YouTube video, “Shit White Girls Say…to Black Girls.” Posted on January 4th, it has “blown up the Internet“:

This video is all over the place. I even found it on the VH-1 blog (via my Flipboard)! I found an interesting comment on the Racialicious article about the video. Yonnie writes:

I hope to see Racialicious do a more analytical article on this video and more importantly, the comments/reactions to it on the internet.

I do think that a critical analysis of the comments/reactions to this video might be good…if you have a strong stomach. I can only imagine the racist, privilege-denying rants that this video could spark. I do have hope that humor can reach and positively challenge people, like here.