I have a Twitter account, two Snapfish accounts, MSN, AIM, and three gmail accounts. I’m a hotmail member (tehe). I’m on LinkedIn, Reddit, and tumblr. I update my Facebook page prolifically. I have bank accounts in a few different countries, several blogs for sundry purpose (the first and last time I posted in my weird poetry blog was 2008), and a reference library of more acronyms than I will ever use (including LSHILEH). I belong to Fitocracy, SparkPeople, four academic mailing lists, and roughly 4,000 e-coupon lists (including Groupon, Macy’s, Avon, and Kia – seriously, other Amanda Murphys out there, do you have to give out my junk e-mail address instead of yours?). I follow people, I hash tag people (not on purpose – Twitter eludes me), I “friend” (*ahem* befriend) people, I block people, I add people to my circles, I creep on teachers and friends from high school (but I usually make my presence known, so as to not be a true creep), I call people, I text people, I e-mail people, and all of this before my daily bowl of 1-Minute Generic Oat Cereal (Quaker Oats is too rich for my grad student blood).
Sheesh, I got tired just typing that. And a little bit hungry.
My question is: How should we keep track of all these social media platforms, log in names, confusing passwords, and user IDs? Should we even bother? What are we supposed to do about The Google knowing EVERYTHING about us? (Links to a hilariously relevant video.) It can be really convenient, but it can also be incredibly invasive and frightening and lead to lots of people saying (and possibly believing) really dumb stuff. I suppose Robert Crumb called it way back in the 1960s. Where will we go from here?
There are plenty of interesting tips floating around about how to position yourself on the internet for the job market (hint: turn off Facebook, or crank up your privacy settings). But what if you can’t remember the passwords to alter your paper(less) trail? What’s an (aspiring or otherwise) academic to do to escape the so-called ivory tower or work with new media to enhance learning opportunities for the casual readers among us? What if you don’t get tenure because you openly castigated your university’s administration on your public blog? (Not I, said the fly, I heard it from the flea.) Is that academic freedom or media harnessing?
It’s too much for me to ponder – I’m off to Facebook about what I had for breakfast instead!