Technology and Innovation in Higher Education

Twitter has become a fan-favorite of the academic, both young and.. “wise.” As I find Twitter to be both educational and a good site for academic tea (for those rainy days), I chose to read one article posted in The Atlantic titled, “The Young Academic’s Twitter Conundrum.” https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/05/the-young-academics-twitter-conundrum/525924/

This article does a great drop articulating Twitter as a way to express ideas, with the caveat that saying something too extreme may have detrimental effects on ones career. Throughout the post, the author highlights that when a professor posts to social media, they not only represent their own point of view, but are inherently tied to their university, their research field, and their own personal research. Thus, saying something upsetting, discomforting, stupid, or rude, can impact many different populations. (I realize the same goes for students as well, though it doesn’t always seem like our circle of influence is as grandiose.)

Is there a way to maintain free speech, while still being respectful? Academics tend to be very opinionated, and good at arguing their point, which has had a history of getting individuals into trouble. This article addresses this difficult question when the author states, “[some scholars] have managed to use social media to bring wider exposure to their research and the sometimes-radical implications of that work, articulating controversial opinions without triggering negative media attention or winding up subjected to institutional discipline.” It is possible to express a controversial opinion without being offensive. In fact, amidst these arguments, I have found that Twitter provides academics a space to find communities; where there is discrimination, there is room for ally’s to shine through the tweets. 

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