I’ve had something on my mind. I have not been as active online lately. The main reason…I am searching for my voice – this is why I call this entry today, “Searching for the Perfect Beat.” Yes, this is a Hip-Hop metaphor for those of you who have no idea what a beat has to do with a voice. Without a perfect beat, the idea may remain unexpressed, a silencing of the voice. This metaphor is directly linked to the idea of the lyricist, one who uses words for expression, in order to put food in her belly, to pay the rent, to let go of something that is pulling on her mind, or to simply bring attention to the lack of justice and harmony in the world. So, lately I have been wondering if maybe I should think more critically before I click that little “post” button, maybe I should think twice about what I say and where I say it.
The reason for my confusion…I don’t know how I am supposed to develop my social media persona. This is harder that you might think. I have been doing “social media” for a while now, but I think I have been really playing along the edges. As 2013 becomes closer and closer, I am thinking about really taking a plunge and trying to step up my media game. As an academic, in many ways, I have learned that there is a need to have the perfect pitch and tone, in my research, in front of a class, or at a meeting or speaking gig. However, this all gets more complicated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, and Google+. Do I separate myself into academic self and Whitney self? Do I post opinion, facts, new reports, fluff, silly pics of me out for a night with the girls, do I avoid cute pics of my three children? How do I reconcile my two selves? Do I only have two selves?
Well, no matter how I slice it, I love social media, I plan on stepping up my media in my classes (thanks Mark Anthony Neal @leftofblack), my research, the promotion of my first book and hopefully the second book (which I am developing now), but do I really need to create multiple accounts just so I can speak my mind and not cross some invisible academic/public line?
First of all, with more accounts, how in the hell am I going to remember all of those passwords? I am back and forth about this, and honestly, its not like I have thousands of followers that would get confused if I opened up a new account or something – or even changed the tone of my tweets. But, why? What is it all worth? I really want to increase my presence, get the word and the work out in new and exciting ways. Does my job (with all of its freedoms), limit my ability to be myself – ooh, that is dangerous, that is not why I signed up for all of this academic stuff – feeling a little slippery here.
Well, until I become the ultimate social media darling, I may be thinking about this way too hard! For now, I am just me. And in my quest to find that perfect beat, that voice that is authentically me, I am just going to keep on grinding and writing and blogging and tweeting and updating my status on Facebook every once in a while. But believe me, this issue is not resolved, just temporally fixed in a cyberspace moment.
Until I figure it out…I remain just a simple public intellectual…so follow me @blackfemarch!