Yesterday, I joined twitter (does that make me a twit?) and academia.edu (the Facebook of scholars!). On the one hand, these pages join the ridiculous waste of time that I already enjoy from MySpace (rarely) and Facebook (‘on the daily’). On the other hand, if the world is going digital, it might be helpful to join the trend and avoid Luddite tendencies.
The neat thing about these pages is that you can find other people working in your field, share articles, ask questions about your topic, and access a range of intellectual prowess from around the world from the comfort of your home or office or fishing boat with WiFi. The traumatizing thing is the information overload, the loss of boundaries between home / work / school / vacation space. On more than one occasion, I have packed up all of my school books to schlep them from Canada to Chicago, or to take them on vacation, only to ignore them throughout the week / weekend / holiday, leaving me with a looming sense of guilt (at not doing work!) and regret (at carrying around heavy books!).
In an effort to have space and time away from work, I am going to avoid bringing an unreasonable amount of work back and forth with me on my next trip. That being said, it is hard to turn off your brain and STOP thinking about research or teaching when those are such all-consuming processes. Plus, it can be interesting to read Judith Butler in a parking lot at the grocery store while you are waiting to pick up your sister. Taking scholarly stuff out of the context of a library, study, or impromptu desk in a coffee shop sometimes grants new insights into the workings of this crazy world we call home. Other times, you spill juice on the books and have to pay a hefty fine to the library. So, be careful out there.
In other news, had dinner with a very good friend and made plans to collaborate on an article! That’s two planned for the future, five or so planned for the present. Gadzooks! This is going better than I could have hoped. Details forthcoming.