Blog Post

Blog Diss: Reflection-On Why I Should Probably Be Talking About Twitter

Okay, so even though I’m so close to the end of my month of daily blogging, I nearly didn’t get anything written today. For some reason, all the labour this has involved is hitting me particularly hard today, and I’m exhausted! But I hardly want to stop when I’m so near my goal, so onward…

So, this is a thing, this awesome Twitter Ethics Manifesto. Rooted in a longer conversation surrounding Twitter Ethics, the document calls for “a methodology that eschews the exploitation of digital labor and the structural violence enacted towards WOC feminist digital bodies” (n.p.). It’s awesome, and you should read it as soon as possible.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Twitter in the context of my project lately, precisely because as it currently stands, Twitter does not play much of a role in my project. Sometimes, particularly (to be honest) when I know I can get away with it, I’ll present my fourth chapter as being on both blogging and micro-blogging, but that would be a lot to cover despite the fact that the two practices share similar names.

But, given that critical conversations such as this one, and several wonderful critiques of the depiction of Twitter as a “toxic” space for feminist activism have happened so recently, I’m also feeling increasingly uncomfortable with not including Twitter. I am particularly troubled by neglecting Twitter in favour of including sites in which racialized bodies continue to be marginalized, such as fandom (even as I think there’s something really critical about some of the conversations going on in fandom right now).

This probably is not an adjustment I will have time to make before submitting a draft of my LTP on May 1, but I do want to raise it now as an issue to return to. Because the regions I’m focusing on in my dissertation are by no means set in stone, and I do want to be open to making changes that reflect the sites in which conversations about labour, and about differential forms of marginalization, are actually occurring. My investment in doing so is not so much an attempt to make my study as ‘current’ as possible, because I think I’ve already accepted that most work I do in new media studies is going to feel dated by the time it is published. Rather, I wonder if attending to what’s happening on Twitter might be a means of attempting to fulfill several aspects of the Ethics Manifesto, such as those that call for a rejection of an “object-oriented approach”, and a troubling of the role of the “expert” (n.p.). That is, rather than (or in addition to) speaking about the absence or relative lack of attention to racialized bodies in other digital contexts, it seems equally important to foreground the spaces that WOC themselves are identifying as critical sites of struggle.

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