I guess I just don't understand the new world of social media. My previous blog post was a critique of Rosemary Joyce's lecture at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Then I see on Twitter that some anthropology graduate students have responded to my post, not by commenting directly on this blog, but in a Facebook post from the CUB Anthropology Department's Facebook page. Their post is mildly critical. I posted a brief comment on Facebook inviting them to reply directly on the blog (as a comment) to continue discussion. I say that I try to avoid using Facebook for professional purposes, and I am not anxious to start posting there about abstruse issues of social theory. But I haven't heard any more from the group of students.
(( SLIGHT UPDATE, same day, 9:30 am: Here is a link to the facebook post:
https://www.facebook.com/CuBoulderAnthropology/?target_post=1247802748570251&ref=story_permalink. And the likes are up to 34! ))
((Now, at noon, the likes are up to 39! I am really taking a killing here in Facebookland))
Perhaps in the world of social media and academia, all venues are equivalent. A response on Facebook might be no different than a reply to a blog, or some other kind of internet posting. So maybe I should just go ahead and reply to their comments here in my blog. Maybe I should switch to my other blog, Wide Urban World, to spread things around even further.
Or maybe I should just shut up. As a long-time blogger and senior scholar, I have a number of advantages over graduate students in terms of experience, power, and access. I am not anxious to play the heavy here. But then perhaps the students have an advantage over me. They are obviously more comfortable with Facebook, and they probably have other social media skills and experiences that I lack. So maybe I should shut up and admit defeat. After all, as of 8:00 AM today, there are NO comments on the blog post in question. The initial tweet from UCBoulder-Anthropology has 2 likes and 2 forwards, and my reply tweet has none. And the original Facebook post has 32 likes, including some prominent archaeologists and anthropologists. Wow, everyone is lining up against me.
In the court of Facebook opinion, I seem to be the clear loser in this affair. Obviously the "new materialism theory" (which is NOT materialist!) is popular and I am just a cranky positivist who can't see the light. But is this a productive direction for scholarship? I have complained in this blog about the "facebookization of online scholarship." You can "like" something buy you can't "dislike" anything. Popularity and superficiality are what count. What are the quality control mechanisms in the court of social media opinion? Are there any?
Well, this post is long enough. It doesn't really say anything about the substantive issues, mainly because I can't decide whether it is appropriate or useful to try to engage my critics in a dialogue, given the situation as described above. I guess I am still trying to figure out social media and its role in scholarship.