It's Diablogical!
A Collaborative Diablog on Feminist Pedagogy
Another reading?
Categories: More stuff to read

Hey SLP –

While I was reading my twitter feed I saw someone had posted this article speaking to this idea of social media taking over our lives. I thought you might be interested in it because I think there are some interesting connections between what the author’s writing about here and what we have talked about in terms of blogging being a way for students to access different parts of themselves.

Have you read this article? Social Media: Huge, and Here to Stay

Check it out!

3 Comments to “Another reading?”

  1. SLP says:

    Thanks for posting this article–it looks great. Here’s an interesting article I found about twitter (but connects to many different forms of new social media, I think). It’s by Peggy who has written by the Princess phenomenon (and feminism too):

    I Tweet, Therefore I Am

    It makes me think about how new social media aren’t just about accessing parts of our selves, but performing them too. I feel like I need to do a Butlerian analysis of this…

  2. KCF says:

    Woah! The line, “How much, I began to wonder, was I shaping my Twitter feed, and how much was Twitter shaping me?” very pomo. I think alongside your Butlerian analysis I would have to do a Harawayian cyborg(ian) analysis, because I know you and love to point out the crazy cyborg realities of all this which makes me think, why isn’t D. Haraway writing about this? Or is she and I just have been to busy to find it?

    Ok, point number two, when Orenstein writes,

    Effectively, it makes the greasepaint permanent, blurring the lines not only between public and private but also between the authentic and contrived self.

    I can’t help but think these are some of the very same arguments we’ve been making about blogging in coursework, although here it seems as though she might be hinting that these aren’t something we should be striving toward.

    This is especially clear in her next paragraph when she turns to Sherry Turkle’s book in which she summarizes a point,

    Among young people especially she found that the self was increasingly becoming externally manufactured rather than internally developed.

    I think this is particularly disturbing especially if we think about how further she writes,

    But when every thought is externalized, what becomes of insight? When we reflexively post each feeling, what becomes of reflection? When friends become fans, what happens to intimacy?

    So here, I start to wonder, what does this mean in terms of academic “performance” both how we ask our students to critically think and reflect upon various social issues with immediacy but how we have theorized this very access to their thoughts is good for developing a feminist consciousness.

    How does our argument about accessing the feminist self online then relate to what Orenstein writes here?

    The risk of the performance culture, of the packaged self, is that it erodes the very relationships it purports to create, and alienates us from our own humanity. Consider the fate of empathy: in an analysis of 72 studies performed on nearly 14,000 college students between 1979 and 2009, researchers at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan found a drop in that trait, with the sharpest decline occurring since 2000. Social media may not have instigated that trend, but by encouraging self-promotion over self-awareness, they may well be accelerating it.

    Is a purposeful analysis of these very questions in designing a course blog enough to counter this idea that young college students are more self-promoting/less self-aware and definitely less inclined to have empathy for others? And if tools like social media are (at least partly) to blame for this how as feminists, to we challenge these notions?

  3. SLP says:

    Great questions! Wow, this is a lot of fun to diablogue with you. Just a few quick comments:

    1. What is the relationship between authenticity and performativity? Is the performed (crafted) self necessarily a “packaged” self? Why can’t that self be seen as authentic?

    2. Is tweeting (and blogging for that matter) only about confessing/documenting/making public the “excruciating minutia of our lives” (as Elaine on Seinfeld once uttered) or our unfiltered thoughts on anything and everything? How else are people using twitter and blogs to express their ideas/feelings and to reflect on life?

    3. It seems to me that Orenstein is reinforcing a rigid boundary between I/you here. The stories we create and the accounts that we construct about ourselves are always in response/in relation to others. Accessing my “authentic” self (whatever that means) is always only done in relation to others (my favorite, JButler, has a lot to say about this in terms of vulnerability, giving an account of oneself and grief). Oh and Maria Lugones has some great things to say about selves-in-relation in an essay on theorizing about the streetwalker.