“Social-Media Skirmishes” (for faculty, that is)

Interesting little article in the Chronicle of Higher Education today: “Social-Media Skirmishes,” which is about faculty engaging/interacting in/on social media broadly speaking– Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.  The article raises some of the usual suspects here– Steven Salaita and the anti-Israel tweets that got him unhired, along with a few others. I like that they included this passage, too:

Cases like Mr. Salaita’s get most of the attention, but they’re the exception. Most faculty members active on social media are not creating public-relations dramas. In fact, they’re doing their employers and themselves a service, says Tarleton Gillespie, an associate professor of communication and information science at Cornell University. He’s at work on a book about how social-media platforms like Twitter and Facebook handle speech-related issues such as threats and online abuse.

Given the newness of social media, Mr. Gillespie says, it’s too easy to focus on what can go wrong rather than what’s already going right. Scholars are using social media to connect with colleagues and take part in conversations beyond their campuses, which can boost their institutions’ profiles, too. “Lots of academics are doing this really well,” he says.

Though one thing I don’t like much about this article is the audience here is squarely higher education administrators, the types charged with policing these kinds of activities. There’s even a sidebar that offers “points” (tips?) for what a “college” should do about social media.