representations galore

In my inaugural post, I explained this blog as a space for bringing together ideas and interests that might appear divergent, as a kind of online repository for identity characteristics. I also intend it to be a public record of the directions my research interests take, a document detailing the revision of select dissertation chapters into journal article submissions and the composition of conference presentations and book chapters.

However, as perhaps all those visiting here know, this is but one facet of my presence online, for I am also persistent on Facebook, FriendFeed and Twitter. These online spaces allow me to network not only with colleagues at my university but also with those at other institutions. Such networking involves discussion of important issues within our respective fields of interest as well as the sharing of important and/or provocative links. The majority of what I share comes from one of the scores of academic blogs and online news outlets I peruse every day via Google Reader.

Twitter in particular allows me to make new contacts in my fields of interst and provides a new venue for sharing related news and information. By posting articles and links relevant to others interested in education and technology, composition and rhetoric, online research and writing, I support and encourage the work of others. I remain engaged in learning on a level that is both similar to and different from conversing with colleagues in the halls of the English department. Such online engagement is a worthwhile kind of public intellectualism and it continues to impact my pedagogical and publishing interests.

I also view these online activities as important academic work because, like my chapter in The Computer Culture Reader, it puts forth an identity representing the university as well as myself. How I present myself and engage with others online says volumes about me, but it also reveals something about the university. In other words, I'm an online representative of the English department at the University of Michigan-Flint and I remain mindful of this in every online action I take.