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Published on Jan 27, 2016
Based in a study using ethnographic methods and examining the practices and perspectives of a collection of globally-located scholars from across a range of academic status positions, the presentation explores the practices by which reputation and influence are cultivated on Twitter.
In open networks like Twitter, signals of scholarly reputation and influence are minimally codified, yet the influence scholars accrue intersects with institutional academia in grant-required measures of “public impact,” in media visibility, and in keynote and job opportunities. The presentation outlines how both oral and literate traditions of communications (Ong, 1982) contribute to open, networked scholarly engagement on Twitter, and how these collapsed traditions trouble the terms of rank and bibliometric indexing which dominate the conventional concept of academic influence.
The presentation also lays out the operations of influence and reputation in this collapsed communications space, and theorizes its implications for scholarly engagement and higher education. Finally, the presentation explores the complex logics of influence that networked scholars employ to assess the networked profiles and behaviours of peers and unknown entities, and suggests that the impression of capacity for meaningful contribution – key to cultivating influence and the regard of actively networked peers – may stem from successful navigation of the oral/literate collapse.
The substantive goal of the presentation is to offer a portrait of open, network scholarly influence and the practices that cultivate it, and to consider how the intersection of orality and literacy make academic Twitter a particularly fraught but beneficial place for engaged open scholars and educators.
Participants: Dr Jane Secker (Copyright and Digital Literacy Advisor, LSE Learning Technology and Innovation), Dr Bonnie Stewart (University of Prince Edward Island)