I have not made finalized travel plans for this year’s SBL Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. Since my wife and I relocated a few weeks ago it has been difficult to determine during this transition whether or not the trip is feasible, though I maintain hope of being there. When I was in San Francisco last year I did enjoy mentioning what sessions I was attending on Twitter/Facebook. This isn’t private information. One can find the paper titles online. I don’t think I have tweeted anything specific about a presentation being given, but an article for Inside Higher Ed by Steve Kolowich titled “The Academic Twitterazzi” caused me to pause and think about the “ethics” of doing so.
Some worried that having someone tweet their insights before they publish might increase the likelihood that they will be scooped by a colleague — although others regarded that notion as slightly paranoid.
(Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/10/02/scholars-debate-etiquette-live-tweeting-academic-conferences#ixzz2898xKvTZ
Inside Higher Ed)
Personally, I have given one SBL Regional Meeting presentation and I would have been a bit flattered by someone “live tweeting” what I had to say. Of course, as I’ve said, I am a minor leaguer in the field of biblical studies. I imagine those far more accomplished than I who have more at stake regarding the uniqueness of their research may be a tad more conservative on this matter.
Maybe presenters will need to tell their audience prior to presenting their paper whether or not they have reservations about live tweeting or blogging?
Such a contrast: a 2012 SBL meeting and the gathering in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
Where has the desire to spread good news gone?
SBL is not a Christian organization. Why would it be spreading the gospel?
Are you suggesting that none of the SBL’s members want to share the good news of Jesus or that those who do have suppressed that desire in favor of SBL mores?
I’m not saying that. I’m saying your comment is off topic and it speaks as if SBL as a whole exists to spread the gospel. Please keep on topic. You have your own blog for personal rants about SBL that you can use.
Your definition of “rant” is different from the one in my dictionary.
As for it being “off topic,” your post was about the ethics of spreading news from SBL presentations. My comment was a brief lament that flow of information didn’t trump academic jockeying. It was clearly on topic, even if you didn’t agree with it.
I don’t want to write on my blogs against the SBL because I’m glad it exists. I do hope, however, that your survey results support free flow of information, that you will be able to attend the next meeting and tweet freely, and that many people will be exposed to SBL work through those tweets.
Surely something of Jesus will make its way through that briar patch.
Your post reminds me of one of the great things about being a pastor rather than a professional academic: I don’t need to worry about taking credit for my work. Furthermore, it is hard to see how something which is being publicly taught should continue being regarded as private. Perhaps the guide for Internet commenting should be the same that we would use in doing a book review. Commenting on and quoting small snippets of the presentation seem appropriate. Quoting whole paragraphs or paraphrasing large chunks of the papers isn’t.
That said, anyone attending an SBL or similar conference should be mindful of how the academic world works and not do anything that would hinder the academic careers of those doing the presentations.
Given how widespread blogging and social media have become, I’m surprised that an organization like SBL hasn’t already developed guidelines for participants regarding disseminating content from presentations through blogs and social media.
In the article there is mention of an academic in the field of Asian American studies who was not happy with live tweeting occurring during their meeting. Her name was Tamara K. Nopper and the article provides her complaint:
W]e live in an intellectually lazy society with many people responding to others’ tweets but clearly not reading something for themselves beyond a sensationalistic quote or headline or an abbreviated summary — often using social media language or symbols — in which ideas can get lost in translation if they were even understood at all,” wrote Nopper. “Yet people attempt to build their brand (and social media followers) by putting out others’ ideas very quickly in real time without always having to reflect on whether they actually understood them.”
Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/10/02/scholars-debate-etiquette-live-tweeting-academic-conferences#ixzz289NcPRIr
Inside Higher Ed
I can see why this aspect of social media seems to clash with academics. It risks being part of the sound byte culture. This is why I favor each presenter having the freedom to request people don’t tweet or blog their work.
Also, to be fair, a conference like this is semi-public. One does have to pay to participate.
This is an interesting ethical situation. I believe that ultimately we should honor the presenter’s requests. However, there is much to be discussed in regards to “public privacy” and social media. SBL is a public event, even if “semi-public.” With our new social media world, I believe public privacy is, and rightfully so, going the way of the caboose. Whatever is said in the public domain should be free to discuss and critique, even unpublished/unprinted research. That said, I would still honor the presenter’s requests.
Boy does Mike Gantt like to turn every conversation into a rant! Sheesh!
I like to turn every conversation to Jesus.
I’m not sure I appreciate the ethical dilemma. Public is public. If you don’t want it public then don’t make it public. SBL is public.
Mike, Don’t confuse you’re misguided agenda with Jesus. Especially your defense of the Founding Fathers.
Rod, I don’t have any idea what you mean by “your defense of the Founding Fathers.”.
No founding father is worthy of comparison to Jesus Christ.
That’s not what I meant, but whatever. Have it your way.
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