Webometric Thoughts: Social Media MA: Only idiots/Daily-Mail-readers object – Got this via Jon Bounds – a good defence of BCU’s MA in Social Media, which has got an all-too-predictable battering from the likes of the Daily Mail:
Being able to use blogs, social networks, twitter, wikis, podcasts etc, is obviously not the same as understanding the role they play in society, but acknowledging that would have got in the way of a ‘good’ story.
The episode reminds me of my two favourite Wolverhampton University lecturers, Mark Jones and Gerry Carlin, who got into tabloid trouble for showing pornography in a seminar as part of their module Unpopular Texts. Rather than taking it lying down, they wrote a long article for The Guardian explaining and justifying exactly why they did it, which made me squeal with delight (I had a bit of a crush on Gerry). It seems academia can become fair game to the sillier newspapers when it strays from the traditional subjects into something resembling real and relevant life, and this episode is just another example of that.
The Daily Mail article comments make me laugh through gritted teeth. ‘Since when did elements of popular culture become an actual source of knowledge?’ asks one particularly stupid reader. Since the dawn of effing time, mate. I like that the few supportive ones are rated well whilst all the negative ones are rated poorly. It kind of proves something – like the potential power of this stuff and perhaps that it’s worthy of further study?
I’m going to end this with the closing paragraph of Mark and Gerry’s article:
It is the purpose of universities to know and interrogate all aspects of the world of which they are a part. It is their responsibility to make this knowledge available to all. We and our students are not walled off but embedded in the society to which we belong.