Friday, December 05, 2014

Dorothy Kim on the Rules of Twitter

by J J Cohen

Do not miss Dorothy Kim's excellent post at Hybrid Pedagogy on "The Rules of Twitter." The essay is useful for many, many reasons --- and covers a much wider ground than its title indicates. Dorothy's piece is, among other things, a probing consideration of racial dynamics on Twitter; social media as multiracial, multiclass, multigender space (boisterous and overlapping digital publics); Twitter and protest, grieving, conferences, abuse, inclusivity, challenge, and pedagogy. The whole Twitterverse is crammed into that piece. One of my favorite paragraphs calls to task the familiar laments over the demise of social media by emphasizing what is dying is the "front porch," suburban model of chatting with the neighbors. Twitter is not a segregated space, but a "hacked digital media public commons" where the privilege of being white and wealthy and comfortable on that porch may well be taken to task:
The relocation of Twitter — from the bucolic image of conversations with neighbors in the “American Dream” single-family neighborhood to loud Broadway (clearly envisioning New York City) — is a statement about digital white flight. However, the neighborhood in the eyes of these white male pundits was always imagined as safe, suburban — by default — white, and upper-middle class. Basically, these pundits are blind to their own white privilege in discussing a digital space. And this is the issue: Twitter was never a porch, it has always been a mediated public space, a hacked public space.
Read the post in its entirety, and follow Dorothy Kim on Twitter as well.

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