tumblr + librarians = tumblarians *

Somehow, despite my attempts to maintain a professional restraint on social media, I’ve become addicted to Tumblr.Over the past couple of months I’ve transitioned from lurker to a full blow devotee. It combines the freedom of blogging with the ease of Twitter. Basically it’s fun and a bit less intense than Facebook. Maybe what really drew me to Tumblr is the tumblrarian phenomenon. And I’m a part of it. A newbie tumblarian looking at with non-practitioner-at-the-moment eye. It’s been going on since 2011. Where have I been?

For me (and many other librarians) Tumblr has become a way to support one another, talk about the profession, advocate for libraries to non-librarians, and exchange ideas for library programming/collection development/other resources. As a social media researcher I would be curious to look into why some librarians are turning to Tumbr as opposed to other social networking sites? How has these librarians’ Tumblr use impacted how they perceive and present their profession? How has this impacted their professional duties? Has librarians use of social media improved library services?

As I writing this I’m attending ALA’s annual conference in Chicago where librarians are facebooking, tweeting, and tumblring (?) meetings, workshops, and social events. I’m curious what others think about social media and its uses as an information source for professional librarians. Are some sites more “education friendly” than others? How much of this use is social? How much is knowledge exchange or informal learning? How can LIS educators successfully use these tools to inform and educate future librarians? How can librarians successfully use these tools to inform and educate patrons?

*a kind tumblarian laura-in-libraryland let me know that the tag has shifted to drop the extra ‘r’ –tumblarian!

Tumblarian Reading:

Library Journal: The Library is Open: A Look at Librarians and Tumblr

The Digital Shift: Tumblarian 101: Tumblr for Libraries and Librarians

So much drama!!

Not long after I started researching cyberbullying I came across the concept of ‘drama’ in a conference paper by Alice Marwick and danah boyd. Unfortunately, I can’t find much more on drama in scholarly literature. Nuts. I’m familiar with drama from my own teen and undergrad years (and even as an adult. Sigh.). But that was before social media really exploded. Drama seems so closely tied to cyberbullying to adults, but also something else altogether to teens.

Marwick and boyd (2011) describe drama as “the language that teens—most notably girls—use to describe a host of activities and practices ranging from gossip, flirting, arguing, and joking to more serious issues of jealousy, ostracization, and name-calling.” (p. 2).

In a recent report from Pew Teens, Social Media, and Privacy, drama was cited as one of the main reasons teens are less enthusiastic users of Facebook than they once were. Reading this report and a New York Times op-ed by boyd and Marwick (2011) interested me even more in how teens define ‘drama’ and ‘cyberbullying’. What terminology should be used as a researcher? I feel that I’m missing something important by not using the words that teens use to define their experiences.

Now I have some questions to think about:

  • How can I incorporate theory into cyberbullying research? There is a definite lack of it in cyberbullying literature.
  • How can public  librarians empower teens through digital citizenship and encourage empathy in teens? We don’t have access to teens the same way that school media specialist, teachers, administrators, or parents do.
  • How much of cyberbullying is really anonymous? the perceived  anonymity/non-anonymity of cyberbullying is fascinating to me. On one hand, most of the cyberbullying takes place within a social circle. These teens know one another. On the other hand, its hard to know how far the bullying or drama has spread. How many people? How far outside that circle?

What to Read:

~Obviously I’m really into danah boyd’s work at the moment.~

boyd, d., & Marwick, A. (2011, September 22). Bullying as true drama. New York Times, pp. A35. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/opinion/why-cyberbullying-rhetoric-misses-the-mark.html/?_r=0.

Marwick, A., & boyd, d. (2011). The drama! Teen conflict, gossip, and bullying in networked places. Presented at A Decade in Internet Time: Symposium on the Dynamics of the Internet and Society. Retrieved from http://ssrn.com/abstract=1926349.

I'm starting my lit review. Old school.

I’m starting my lit review. Old school.

The Introverted PhD Student *

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I consider myself an introvert. I’m not sure when I gave myself this label, but I distinctly remember coming home with report cards that hinted at it – “Abby’s a good student but she’s so quiet”,”Needs to talk more in class”, “Does she have a voice??? Make her talk!!!!” (the last one I made up but you get the idea). There are certain professions where being introverted isn’t a necessarily a drawback (I think), but academia does not seem to be one of them. You would think that a group of people who spend significant amounts of time working solo or in small groups would be naturally be introverted. Maybe they’ve found a way to come to terms with this. Maybe there is a secret that I have been cruelly kept from finding out. What I’ve experienced in my first year as a doctoral student is that I’m surrounded by people who seem to have little fear of making presentations or participating in group discussions. But I have a huge amount of fear. My fear is loud, aggressive, headache inducing, and tends to keep me from sleeping. One of my main problems when speaking in public is that my mind blanks. I have thoughts. I’m a relatively intelligent person. But when I’m forced to speak all my higher level thinking disappears to somewhere far, far away. So what do you do when public speaking seems to be a requirement?

I don’t know.

What I have accepted is that I am an introvert. I’m quiet and shy. This will never change and I don’t want it too. I no longer see it as a flaw that must be corrected. I think this is an important and necessary step. But I know that I need to be a better public speaker. I’m going to have to do a significant amount of it to get my PhD. Defending my prospectus and my dissertation, along with conference presentations, demand a lot of public speaking and quick thinking. At the moment I’m setting small goals for myself. Saying something (anything really) during class discussion and carefully planning out possibilities for short presentations, and trying to figure out tricks/tools that will help me relax when I speak publicly. The end goal is to defend my prospectus and dissertation with turning beet read, rambling, and possibly fleeing. It’s the small things.

Some introvert links that I liked. Everyone loves a guide.:

A Guide to Public Speaking for Introverts and Shy People

The Introvert’s No-Fear Guide to Public Speaking

* a sort of confessional

Learning to Write for Academia and Myself

I’ve been a student for a long time. Before I began this program last fall, I thought I had a solid understanding of what it means to write for an academic audience. But I had no idea of how much my writing would evolve over the past year. I’ve written a lot, read a lot of the literature, and received a significant amount of feedback about my writing from my colleagues. I imagine it was the sheer amount of writing I had to produce that helped improve my writing. Practice makes perfect (or at least reasonably good and possibly publishable). And also the comment on one paper, “I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.” No. No, I did not.

Earlier this summer, my major professor and I talked a bit about our writing styles. Sometime during the past semester, I had a friend who after reading some of my papers told me that my writing was very direct. I wasn’t sure if this should be taken as a compliment or a critique. Luckily I have a major professor who is a clear and direct writer herself. She recommended a writing style called Writing Degree ZeroI did a bit of research and found that this style comes from a book of the same name by Roland Barthes. He published Le degré zéro de l’écriture (it sounds better in French doesn’t it?) in 1953. In this books of literary criticisms, Barthes suggests neutral, or writing degree zero, as the ideal style. It is a freer style of writing, a release from clichés, over blown language, and metaphors. Exactly what I like. He also throws around words like bourgeois, revolutionary, and Marxist (which you can never have too much of).

I particularly liked this quote from the book. It’s very beautiful.

“Literature is like phosphorus: it shines with its maximum brilliance and the moment when it attempts to die.”


Lurking as a Social Media Researcher

I feel I must make a confession as someone who is just beginning to do research on social media. I am a bit of a reluctant social media contributor. I’m more of a hardcore lurker. I post infrequently to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr (although I’m trying to do better). I believe my reluctance to update/post/tweet comes more from a personal hesitancy than a professional/research hesitancy  Being a naturally private, shy, and quiet person, I’ve never felt the need to publicly announce what I’m doing/thinking/eating/feeling. I hope there are others out there like me who cringe a bit after posting on a social network site. Will it be liked or retweeted?? Part of these may come from working in a public library in a conservative community, part of it is just my introverted self. But I realize that there are many people who do not share this tendency and who feel quite comfortable updating their status with anything and everything. I’d like to find a happy medium between these two extremes: rarely posting and posting every five minutes.

I am currently working on a literature review of cyberbullying, focusing on how public librarians can be a source of support for victims.As a beginning social media researcher I need to make myself known with the community of social media researchers. From what I’ve been told the best way to do this is to put myself out there through blog posts, Tweets, Tumblr posts, etc. This is part of my attempt with this blog. By posting about once a week to this blog, I becoming more comfortable as a producer of online content. I’ll get there. Baby steps.You may ask yourself: Why is does she want to research social media if she doesn’t seem to be actively engaged with it? Since I started using social network sites back in the early days of MySpace and LiveJournal, I’ve been fascinated with how people use these sites. My interest in the effect social media has had on the way we all, especially young adults, communicate and interact on a daily basis has led to my summer research collaboration with Dr. Mardis. I am currently working on a literature review of cyberbullying, focusing on how public librarians can be a source of support for victims. Social media appears to be a research area that is wide open for investigation.

As a beginning social media researcher I need to make myself known with the community of social media researchers. From what I’ve been told the best way to do this is to put myself out there through blog posts, Tweets, Tumblr posts, etc. This is part of my attempt with this blog. By posting about once a week to this blog, I becoming more comfortable as a producer of online content. I’ll get there. Baby steps.

Some research ramblings…

A few things I’ve been I’m about as I work through all these readings for the lit review. These may seem a bit random:

  • Several of the articles I’ve read point out the bully/victim phenomenon that is a part of cyberbullying, but so unlike traditional bullying. Bully/victims are those individuals who have both experienced being bullied and being a bully. If my current interest to develop resources public librarians can use to support victims of cyberbullying, it seems that librarians would need resources for bully/victims. Cyberbullying seems like such a give and take, very reciprocal, while traditional bullying has (for the most part) a clear victim and a clear bully. But this bully/victim concept is part of the nature of social networking sites. Anonymity gives even the shyest, most non-violent users an open field in which to express themselves (for good or bad). On social networking sites it’s all too easy to strike out at someone who you feel has struck you first.
  • After reading the recently released Pew Research Center’s report, “Teens, Social Media, and Privacy” I find it curious that while teens commented on all the drama and parental inference occurring on Facebook, they are not abandoning the site. It seems like a site that teens feel required to use even though they have so many issues with it. Obviously, they are reaching out to other social networking sites to satisfy whatever need they have that Facebook is not fulfilling (creative, emotional, ?).
  • I recently read a paper by Marwick and boyd (2011) The Drama! Teen Conflict, Gossip, and Bullying, which has made me very curious about drama and how it relates to cyberbullying. The author described teens identifying certain behaviors as drama. Behaviors that adults would quickly label as bullying. Drama seems so ambiguous a label. Like cyberbullying, it seem hard to find a definition that will suit everyone. I look forward to read more about drama in general and how it relates to cyberbullying.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated! (Not that anyone is following this blog at the moment but there’s hope for the future!)