Week 5 Reflection

The presence of social media is immense.  Sites like Facebook and Twitter are now common terms and are understood by almost anyone you talk to.  This new medium that has developed in the last 10 years is useful, however I find it somewhat intrusive.  Social media, along with written media denies the speaker the context of voice.  Humor, especially if it is off putting or dare say, offensive is taken at face value.  This lack of context of voice is potentially damaging to careers and social relationships, especially if the person seeing your comment is only familiar with you but may not “know” or understand you.  Twitter is something I begrudgingly may have to start doing.  The trends in social media now have absolutely eliminated any barriers between private and public life.  No longer are employers looking at your resume or work experience, but many are taking the liberty of investigating persons online in a social forum.  Social media has created an atmosphere of an ever-watching public and forces individuals to suppress what they may truly think or feel, to remain marketable to any potential employers.  Academia.edu I wasn’t aware of but understand it could be useful in the near future.  It’s professional atmosphere can foster inner and interdisciplinary links that digital historians must embrace.  In any case, social media is changing the way in which we interact with each other, I feel it will be inevitable for historians to have to embrace this medium in order to keep up with the ever growing digital age. Unfortunately, I think any expression of opinion may also easily come under fire from those who dissent and as a result, unfortunately, jobs can be lost.

Web design will be another tool that the digital historian (obviously) will have to add to his repertoire of things to know for this new medium.  A lot can be accomplished by the historian himself, but he will also have to embrace another form that is rarely explored by historians-a sense of visual art.  How I understand history in a lot of ways are visual representations that I make in my head.  Usually connections between events and places and comparisons between those events to others.  The difficulty I find is expressing these comparisons in the written word, or translating what I see in my head and communicating them effectively through writing.  Website creation helps to bridge that gap, as with my proposed project, I can lay my information out represented by a visual image.  The ability to create something in a non-linear fashion can help effectively transmit ideas that can be overshadowed or under-emphasized in the written word.  A visual element to history also can draw people in and allows them to attach themselves to the subject emotionally.  Just as a museum works, seeing the actual piece of historical evidence conveys a much different message than reading about it.

With digital history, I realize that the emphasis on collaboration with other fields is necessary.  Yet, I am often wanting to control every aspect of research, creation or writing.  Perhaps this is traditional in my thinking, but if I create something or write I book, I welcome help although I am not fully satisfied if I do not feel that it is truly my work, or even worse something may be missed because of a lack of careful oversight.  Admittedly, I’m a work control freak.

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One Response to Week 5 Reflection

  1. Prof.Mack says:

    I think you are getting at something very interesting with what you say about the visual. I tend to think of it as another skill we need to learn. But you have two other ways of seeing it. Visual representations may show what we want to express more clearly than words. And they may bring in people who aren’t as word oriented

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