Yesterday I read Rebecca Hogue’s blog about her experience at #MRI13, Impostor in the Room, and felt compelled to respond…I attended three conferences over the past month, and like Rebecca I am a doctoral student still navigating the journey from novice to expert, so I often feel like an impostor in rooms filled with people who have become pseudo-celebrities in my professional life as I must stand on their shoulders to build my dissertation. At the time I choosing not to as I did not attend the conference and thus did not understand its dynamics. It is odd to be in California and have a Twitter feed full of people determining where they are going to have dinner, sharing anecdotes and inside jokes in the space they often share resources and engage in scholastic conversation. This is the nature of social media, though, and we all utilize it in a different manner.
Fabian Banga has furthered this concern at his blog eter, defining Twitter as both a neoliberal and postmodern social network that encourages isolation rather than community, the focus on follows and followers rather than communication. As Fabian looks at the situation from a level removed from MRI13, I responded to his blog with my thoughts and recent experiences navigating the terrain. I also added a few thoughts on how conferences can do a better job of including the peripheral players and giving them a sense of belonging rather than isolation.
I did not attend #MRI13, but as a student in learning technologies who continues to navigate the journey from novice to expert, I wanted to share my experiences with Twitter in this field, as they differ from those expressed by Fabian.
While I began using Twitter in 2010, it was not until Fall 2012 that I truly engaged the platform. At the time I had begun initial research toward my dissertation, and many of the contemporary scholars were active on Twitter. I followed them. I also began blogging (a lot). For the most part, those I followed did not follow me. I did not take this as a sleight, but more as the expected outcome of joining a new network…the idea of legitimate peripheral participation, zone of proximal development in a social setting, and my place as a novice in their expert space. As I gained comfort with the field, I began responding to select tweets of these scholars. Continue reading