Academic Status 2.0

I picked up on another interesting comment by Dave White during the webinar discussed in my previous post. He suggests academic reputation, status or kudos is not automatically transferable to social media environments, but has to be ‘re-earned’ through new modes of participatory engagement. If this is the case, why is it some academics (e.g., Etienne Wenger) have accrued hundreds of followers in twitter despite little or no output. This is almost akin to sitting at the feet of a prophet waiting for him to speak – not much re-earning necessary here.

Academic hierarchies (either perceived or real) are culturally and historically stratified and persistent. I suggest social media has the ability to ‘skew’ rather than nullify this stratification. True, the cultural heritage and technological infrastructure of social media lends itself to a more open and accessible academic discourse than that provided by traditional platforms, and enables greater movement and interaction between academic strata, but only up to a point.

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2 Responses to “Academic Status 2.0”

  1. virginia Yonkers Says:

    The fact is that, at least in the US, social media has no currency within Academia. For the most part, therefore, it is used (when used) merely as an extension of the traditional power structure.

    At the two universities where I teach, we need to submit (electronically) our accomplishments and academic achievements for the previous year. There is no category for things such as blogs or online conferences.

  2. Andy Coverdale Says:

    As someone who is only just becoming acquainted with the world of academia (at this level, anyway), I find it interesting how some lecturers and researchers are using social media to explore channels of discourse through non-institutional platforms, even though they may often undertake these activities in their own leisure time.

    I would suggest that most academics (in the UK anyway) are of a broadly leftist, liberal orientation and sympathetic of the wider cultural and political implications of social learning on the Web (such as open educational resources) even if these potentially conflict with the self-interests of current or prospective employers.

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