Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Social Media: Why Do It?

I teach a 3rd year PhD workshop that is mostly focused on getting students through their dissertation proposals (a roadmap for their dissertation research).  Along the way, we cover other topics, like how to get on conference programs, what kind of non-academic employment there is, and, yes, social media.  Last night, we covered the latter category, and I was surprised at the response: why don't I make money off of it?

I answered thusly:
  1. As a professor, I feel an obligation to share what I know beyond the classroom.  We have had endless talks/posts/publications/tweets about reaching beyond the academy--beyond the ivory tower.  This is an easy (cheap!) way to do it.
  2. As an endowed chair which has the name of the school on it (now I am really seeking a physical chair that actually has the name on it), I feel obligated to help make the school more visible.
  3. As a recipient of grant money, where the application asks for a knowledge dissemination strategy, I feel obligated to disseminate knowledge in any way I can.
  4. Doing something where others profit is nothing new--the rents twitter gets from me are far less rapacious than what journal publishers get, and twitter (and google) don't charge people to see my stuff, unlike Elsevier and their ilk.
  5. Um, who would pay for it?  Someone mentioned Jordan Petersen raking it in, and I don't think I want to be the leader of a cult.  Reasonable people will not pay money to see me youtube-lecture.
  6. Not everything is about money.  I do ask for money if the engagement requires significant time or effort, like if a newspaper asks me to write an op-ed that I had not planned to write or if CBC radio wants me to spend three hours talking to radio stations across the country.

  • I get heaps of benefits from doing social media--more friends around the world, contacts in interesting places/professions, quicker access to the latest research, simply more info about more things.  I got into this business because I am a deeply curious person, and social media helps me satisfy that urge to know more.  Oh, and I have long had a deep-seated Fear of Missing Out Syndrome, so social media eases that quite a bit.
  • Oh, and it is fun.  I enjoy it.
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