Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I Tweet What I Tweet and That's All That I Tweet: Revisiting the Popeye Principal

Typically I don't like to revisit topics, not unless I have something new to say. However, after reading a couple of things from The Chronicle of Higher Education this past weekend, I feel the need to revisit the Popeye Principal - a post I wrote a couple of years ago - with little to no reinterpretation.

The first article I read was "Confronting the Myth of the 'Digital Native'". The article is about a university course that teaches students how to present themselves professionally on social media. (As a quick aside - knowing how to behave on social media has nothing to do with my understanding of digital natives, but maybe I'm looking at it differently because librarian or maybe it's just me.)

The second was "In Defense of Getting Personal on Twitter", written by someone who argues almost the opposite: she argues you should be tweeting things above and beyond whatever your professional identity might dictate.

Flash to this past Sunday, which I think is a nice microcosm of how I tweet...

I share those three here to make it obvious that I fall in the "getting personal on Twitter" camp. I tweet random song lyrics, overwhelmingly cute pictures of bats, fat activism articles, pictures of yummy libations, and so on. I always have. I hope I always will. I'm way more than an academic librarian, and my Twitter feed shows the multifaceted me. As it should. As yours should. Again, I know I'm pounding the same pulpit I did in that previous post, but it bears repeating. Not only is it something you all need to hear regularly, but it's something I forget, too. I sometimes get wobbly for a moment after tweeting unexpurgated Beastie Boys lyrics or similar. But I get over it. And just in case you didn't feel like clicking through to the original post I wrote on this topic that I linked above, here's what I think of as the money quote:
"Perhaps someone will judge me as unfit for a job because of an off-color tweet, or think me too political because of a blog post, or worry about my sanity because of my current obsession for all things Doctor Who. If that happens, then so be it. 'Life's too short' is a cliché because it's true. If someone doesn't want to hire me because of my eclectic interests, then why would I want to work for them?" 
Should you be dropping f-bombs every other tweet, sharing pictures of yourself engaged in illegal activities, or causing general mayhem on Twitter or other social networks? No. Should you be airing other's dirty laundry or calling people out personally? Nope. Should you be trolling people to make a name for yourself? Oh heck no. But neither should you be so focused on being milquetoast in order to keep from offending anyone and think yourself "employable". I know this is easy for me to say since I am currently gainfully employed in the industry I love, but let me remind you I'm also a person who hires in this industry now that I'm a library director. So, seriously... tweet on, mad tweeters, tweet on.

"On the internet nobody knows you're a dog"


  1. I wholeheartedly agree with you! In my opinion, tweeting authentically adds depth to people; it rounds out their personality. And I also find the opposite to be true – the people I follow who only tweet about their work/research? They tend to bore me, and I end up skipping over them or removing them. I want to connect with whole people!

  2. Same with library Twitter accounts--the best ones are those that go beyond "we will be closed today due to the holiday" and interact/share/repost all manner of things.

  3. This came up in a workshop today and I was saying exactly what you've said. Totally agree. Ironically when I opened my twitter stream, what was at the top? Tweets w jenwaller about banana bread. :)