I May Require Shaming or Even Shunning

Excellent meditation on the nonverbal power of words, especially 140 characters at a time!

ACADEME BLOG

Twitter has been central to a number of controversial cases that have tested the definitions and the limits of academic freedom. The brevity and compression of tweets means that they exist outside of any fixed context and they are therefore very frequently tonally ambiguous. What seems very provocative or even outrageous to one reader may seem edgily ironic or just mildly sarcastic to another.

Yet, the one thing that tweets share with other types of written–and oral–communication is that if you have to start explaining what you intended, you are already in trouble.

It does not require the prophetic gifts attributed to Nostradamus to predict that Donald Trump’s enthusiasm for Twitter and his often unrestrained and seemingly impulsive use of the medium are going to make these kinds of issues a central part of our public discourse for at least the next four years. The core issue for academics may…

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About RAB

Teacher of English writing and literature (college-level); academic-freedom activist; editor and copy editor; theater director, costumer, actress, playwright. View all posts by RAB

2 responses to “I May Require Shaming or Even Shunning

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