Three weeks ago, before I started my fellowship with DiSC, I thought I knew a fair amount about digital humanities. Working at ECIT for the past three years, I've helped students and faculty make digital stories, edit video, create podcasts, build websites, and develop blogs and wikis. It was during our first meeting at DiSC, however, when I realized that I had a lot to learn. Everyone kept talking about "DH": implementing DH projects, visiting DH centers, orchestrating DH conversations. I had no idea what we were talking about, but I dutifully took notes presuming that my ignorance was probably equivalent to an American not being able to pinpoint "Mickey-Ds" for McDonald's. Finally (and thankfully!) at some point late in the conversation it occured to me that we were talking about Digital Humanities.
There are many benefits to taking a fellowship such as the one I now have. One of the benefits that I'm discovering--and clearly did not expect--is that Digital Humanities is an academic realm far more complex than I originally thought. In fact, I've spent much of my time over the past few weeks just getting oriented to other DH websites and centers, trying to pick-up on trends, lingo, key players, technological advances, and pedagogical advantages.
So, when it came time for someone to take on the task of creating a Facebook page for DiSC, I volunteered to lead the project. Not only do I feel competent to create a Facebook page, but preparing to do so would allow me to first research how other DH centers use Facebook. And that's when I discovered a real shocker: they don't!
Twitter--yes; Facebook--not so much. Sure there are a handful of DH pages on Facebook--perhaps the most prominent of which is UVA's Scholar's Lab--but in general they are few and far between. I've yet to assess centers' use of Twitter, but my colleague, the other Brian (Croxall), tells me that Twitter is the platform ofchoice for many DH centers and folks. Brian thinks it is linked both to an abbreviated form and a more robust level of privacy, compared to Facebook.
As a regular Facebook user, and a sometimes Twitter user--by the way, everyone else in DiSC is all over Twitter, I think--I found this shocking. (For example, DiSC has had a Twitter account for awhile and is only now considering a Facebook page or group.) I just assumed that centers would use both or neither but not one over the other. Even with Brian's explanation, I find it itneresting that DH centers would avoid a social media platform where many of their students, for example, visit multiple times a day.
One of my goals now is to see how I can use Twitter, not only personally but as a part of DiSC. What are the advantages of using Twitter over Facebook? Will I find a community there? Who cares what I have to tweet?
In the Blog
- The Extraordinary World of MARBL: Charles H. Herty Turpentine Cup
- Postcolonial Studies @ Emory
- A Beautifully Illustrated Book in the Seydel Collection
- The Extraordinary World of MARBL: Medical Formulas from the Reed Family
- New tech e-books:Safari Books Online
- The Extraordinary World of MARBL: Resurrection City Street Signs
- The Extraordinary World of MARBL: Ralph McGill's Paper Bag Letter
- Sisyphus: Patron Saint of the Stacks
- Cake Sprinkles, Cigarettes, Pasta, and Rusty Razor Blades: Preservation Challenges in MARBL
- The Extraordinary World of MARBL: Robert E. Lee's Socks