conference,  digital scholarship,  twitter

Social media as festive metaphors

I gave the keynote at the Social Media in Higher Education conference on Tuesday. As it was the in the week before the Christmas break, I chose to adapt my social media choices as 70s disco track idea and use festive metaphors.

First of all I emphasised the problems with using metaphors, and how festive metaphors can highlight this – not everyone celebrates Christmas, and not everyone celebrates it in the same way. The metaphor can therefore be excluding or get in the way of the point you are trying to make. I hope there was enough social recognition of the metaphors however for them to be meaningful.

I wanted to explore how metaphors can get us out of entrenched modes of thinking, and how we may have that with regards to Twitter. We keep going to new sites and trying to get them to be like Twitter used to be, but maybe we need to recognise we are entering a new phase of social media and we need new ways to frame our relationship to it.

I used the scenario of getting a research grant and choosing two social media tools to build community and disseminate findings. I asked the attendees to vote, and Twitter was still the clear winner from the choices:

I also created a version of the metaphor generator, to create a social media as festive metaphor generator. Have a play.

My slides are available on Google if you want to explore them. I used DaVinci’s Christmas Pixar filter to create the images.

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  • Alan Levine

    I love how you keep milking that metaphor cow 😉 I mean that!

    Those holiday images are adorable, too, and weird uncles come into play in many of the scenes. Also bonus points for the metaphor in a metaphor of blog being a house.

    On the semi-serious side, I keep hearing reading what feels like an un-realistic desire, for the mythical one place where everybody is (and has zero complexity to use). But the one tent is an illusion, there never was one. I for one never have to bother with GreenSky or Dreads, as long as I follow enough people in my place of choice that share across channels.

    Two, I know there must be some diagnostic name for the phenomena where one characterizes their singular experiencein a complex system to be the same for everyone. Like “Ferd Cars suck! I bought a Ferd Gemni and it was a lemon, the dealer was terrible. Don’t buy Ferd” or “Air Bagada cancelled my flights and I had to stay 36 hours at the airport in Goozabia. Air Bagada is the worst, dont fly them” I’ve been reading and tirefully engaging in these discussions in, say, the Platform Emblemized by a Loxodonta, where people’s experiences are vastly different from mine. Yet, the human tendancy (and I succumb too) is to generalize more than I really know (like who can actually know everyone’s experiences?)

    And Three…. I forgot! How about a metaphorocally equivalent version of utter happiness for you, the family, and of course, all the dogs.

    • mweller

      Hi Alan – it’s all testament to your fun code! On the other note – the one tent for everyone may have been a bit of an exaggeration, but that “all life is here” was the appeal of twitter – I could follow film stars, comedians, HE colleagues, and talk about sport, work, personal life. People can do that on blogs obviously (and do) but that is not as widespread now. Audiences are more distributed now, and my point is that is not necessarily a bad thing but we need to rethink our social media practice. Twitter would have been the default for (UK at least) HE practitioners previously but that is no longer true.

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