As I struggle to put together my e-portfolio to meet the assignment deadline, I realize that I am accruing another platform/presence that will need my attention. I already quit maintaining Facebook, I have deleted Linked-In, I run an uninspiring twitter account, I have a limited use for Snape, I also have a blog that I have to keep up with, and now an e-portfolio. Somewhere in there I also go to school at Virginia Tech. A quick Google search on social media and academia will return with tons of links to articles saying how important that social media presence is. There is a useful site that collates a bunch of the sites and platforms together (https://www.timeshighereducation.com/a-z-social-media). Anyway, the common themes seem to be that it is a useful way to network with people and connect with the next generation. It is a great way to promote yourself and your work too. So yes, there are many benefits to having a social media presence. In making the e-portfolio, I’ve had to make some professional development moves such as thinking about teaching and research statements.
However, I do know that I am actively ignoring the use of social media for my own benefit. Initially, using social media to promote yourself sounds boastful; but, that is probably more a result of my own upbringing than anything. I need to be my own biggest hype-man, so I can get over that. There are occasional lulls in what I would deem shareable content from me; but, I could fill those gaps with sharing other people’s work and ideas. I do have a genuine fear do trolls and attacks on social media. At this stage in my career I would rather keep a low profile and not be saddled with that type of baggage. However, I don’t work on a controversial topic nor do I run that hard hitting of a Twitter account. Honestly, I just don’t want to do it. It makes me feel hard-headed, but I have my reasons.
A career in academia is not a 9-5 job. You can try to make it seem like it is, I don’t answer e-mails after 5 pm or on weekends. Social media is a fast platform and it needs prompt replies. I don’t want to have to be engaging with the world 24/7. If you’ve ever spent time in western Nebraska, you quickly realize life goes on when you lose a cell signal. It feels great to be there and not worry about anyone or anything else. Maybe I could run my social media presence 9-5 on weekdays. That effort level doesn’t seem engaging enough and very half-hearted. I would rather not do something than knowingly do it poorly. Does anyone have any success stories with social media and how it was helpful for them?