So I know that no one follows this blog anymore because I never write anything, but for those two people who are still subscribed to the RSS and for my friends and family members who check it dutifully, this is for you:
In August this blog is changing, and my twitter account will become @myrealname (and subsequently, a lot less snarky). Why? Because in August I officially become a college instructor.
This was a hard decision for me because as I’ve blogged and tweeted about and ranted to friends frequently, I believe in personas, online anonymity, and professional freedom of speech. I won’t go off on a tangent here except to say that 1) transparency ought to be a top-down revolution, 2) the overall privatization of our society keeps us from having conversations we ought to be having and from challenging false notions, and 3) using twitter/facebook to self-socialize and normalize the masses leads people to be ultimately a lot less transparent, profiles more constructed, and online tools less “revolutionary”. By encouraging transparency and simultaneously asking users to monitor their language and thoughts in the interest of future employers, we are just recreating our current society with all its expectations in a virtual space—a place where the “little guy” has the most to lose and often does (teachers, waitresses, etc.)—instead of allowing really different new rules and norms to develop. Though things exist online “forever” and it’s public to some extent and on and on, people should be able to speak their minds, in their language, without judgment. Especially when what they are saying online would have to be “dug up” by a customer, client, or child in order to offend.
Yet as I say and firmly believe all of the above, I am aware of the very real problems facing educators right now. Though I feel reassured to be in a university environment where I am treated like a professional, I also know that budget cuts face universities and public school alike and if I manage to cross the blurry line they’d be more than happy to stop signing my paycheck. And sure I’m anonymous, but those who have been following me awhile know that I’m really NOT and that plenty of people have met me, seen me, or heard my name.
More than my fear of pissing off administrators, though, is my concern for what my future students will think if they come across @meckcharlotte or KUWTB. I’m a relatively young female and first time teacher, so for one, I don’t think my students need to be reading about my ex boyfriends or trips to Brazil. Also, as much as I love snark and think this city (and university) deserves a healthy dose, I also realize that negativity can be defeating. As someone who is about to be scrutinized by a bunch of 18-year-olds I must be wary of sharing my concerns publicly and poking fun turning into or being interpreted as outright complaining and mocking. And if I am to teach my students that rhetoric has consequences, I must also think about the consequences of them hearing that I’m frustrated with the school administration or think 99% of Mac users are impressionistic trend-followers (not really! Jk! Lol!) But in all seriousness, if just one tweet or post made a student think that I was untrustworthy, mocking them or their beliefs/interests, mean, angry, that I didn’t have faith in the school system or that school was way too difficult for me so it might be for them too, etc., well then, I just couldn’t live with that.
Much has been said about teachers operating online profiles positively, and I do not mind and kind of would like my students to be able to see that I am a real person who has a real life. But a lot of “meck,” especially my earlier uses, is partially constructed and partially real. In the end, I am a fiction writer, and my goal and purpose for this blog/my twitter account has always been, first and foremost, to tell a good story. Being semi-anonymous, semi-fictional online is all kinds of problematic for a teacher. I need to be one or the other, so (and it seems obvious) I will just be me.
And, since you are thinking it, YES, I am compromising somewhat on my beliefs. But it was never my dream to be a tweeter or a blogger. It is my dream to be a teacher and writer. And for now, and for my professional level, I have to cut back on the snark. And it is time for me, personally, to own what I’ve written, to sign my name to my best work and best self. I still believe the internet needs anonymous voices, blogs and twitter and facebook, now and forever. But, I think, it no longer needs me(ck).
(until then I plan on writing A LOT on here, so stay tuned. I will bitch for as long as possible)