As a public historian and young adult, there is no question of whether or not I will cultivate an online presence. Recently, however, I have been seriously grappling with the implications of separating or integrating my personal and professional online personas.
In my first months as a graduate student I launched a personal blog to polemicize on past and present culture. My goal was twofold: to critically engage with the culture I consume and to get into the habit of writing. Soon my blog became a steam valve for me to articulate my frustrations and revelations when my academic training informed my evaluation of popular culture and vice versa. With elation I realized that I could perform analysis as colorfully as I desired. I cursed freely, exhibited anger, expressed pleasure—all of the things that academics aren’t supposed to do. I utilized sarcasm, humor, and reflexivity at will while freely incorporating images, animated .gifs, and videos. My blog quickly evolved into a carefully constructed yet authentic representation of my subject position at the intersection of the past and present, the personal and political, the intellectual and the plebeian.
With Past Present and related projects produced for a Public History and New Media course, I found myself creating a whitewashed copy of my online persona. Continue reading “Between the Personal and the Professional”