February 4, 2013

Presenting Anthropology - Weeks 3&4 (Discussion)

This two-week mini-unit of Presenting Anthropology has been about social media, which expands on the conversations we had in class on open access, digital humanities, and Web 2.0.

Last week, we were privileged to have Charlotte Noble (USF) skype in to tell us about her inspiration for This Is Anthropology (the Prezi and now the AAA-sponsored website).  Charlotte emphasized the importance of getting a message out through multiple social media platforms, of crafting a message that's accessible and doesn't rely on industry-specific jargon, and of reacting and being present rather than waiting for others to step up.  It was great to have Charlotte reiterating what I'd been telling my students, and we circled back to her comments this week, when the students presented the seeds of their semester-long social media projects.

Please consider following one or more of these 15 awesome graduate students, who are writing about a wide variety of anthropological topics on various platforms:

Each student presented a bit about his/her social media platform(s), goals for the semester, inspirations among other public anthropologists, and ways they plan to quantify/qualify whether or not their attempt at public outreach through social media was successful.  I suspect most of these blogs/twitter accounts will evolve over the course of the semester as the students get feedback and begin dialogues with their followers and the public at large.  So please do comment on their work -- let them know what kinds of things you want to see more of, what kinds of questions they can answer for you.

I am definitely looking forward to finding out more about their anthropological interests over the course of the semester, as most of them are doing work in areas I have little knowledge about (particularly underwater archaeology).  I'm also happy that the majority of the students in my class are women, as women are still underrepresented in science blogging (see Shema et al. 2012).

We didn't have much time for general discussion about blogging this week, nor did we have a particularly fruitful conversation about "public" anthropologists based on the reading last week.  I suspect that if I had put the discussion towards the end of the semester, after they'd worked on their social media outreach for a while, it would have been much better.

But we press onward... the next two-week unit is on presenting anthropology in print (and the reading list for that will be up soon).  I plan to bring in my research posters from the last 10 years.  Not looking forward to unrolling the terrible poster I presented at the AAPAs in 2002...

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