DigLibArts is Buzzing about BuzzAdemia

On Tuesday I look the liberty of making a Buzzfeed account for the Student Tech Liaisons. My first listicle was “5 Ways Technology Can Make Reading More Fun.” I made this post because I wanted to reach out to my fellow English students. It seems to me there’s a stigma about technology and literature. I often hear how students take pride in being “such a luddite” and prefer printed books over eReaders. While I do love holding a leather bound book, I think it’s important to recognize that technology can enhance the way we analyze English and increase discourse outside of the classroom.

Like it or not, technology changes the way we look at the world and literature doesn’t escape this. Professor Rehn, one of Whittier’s first Digital Humanists, said in the summer 2014 edition of The Rock that:

When we read a novel, we [envision] images that come in an endless Wikipedia in our heads. But the images that are in the people’s heads now are different that were there a hundred years ago… How do we read Charles Dickens now with all these images in our heads?

The way we perceive literature has changed. As long as we preserve historical context (something I think academia will always do), using digital learning will help us conceptualize and interact with literature better than ever before.  I see so much excitement in the classroom over literature, so why not share that with your family and friends?

Surely, that’s more interesting than what you had for lunch or another Disney princess quiz.

I hope Buzzfeed will be a valuable resource for the tech liaisons. Buzzfeed offers a laid back atmosphere with a particular tone of humor that’s as fun as it is addicting, but we want to use it for more than dinky quizzes and pop culture gif lists.  It gives us a chance to communicate to students and faculty in a relaxed context. We can give examples of our own attempts with digital learning, offer tips, and funny observations about our majors or the digital sphere in a way that’s accessible to everyone.

I’m not the only one who thinks that academia and Buzzfeed make a good pair. Mark Marino of USC was quoted in The Chronicle stating, “My dream for this is that you eventually get locked in a click-bait loop of scholarly arguments, rather than articles about Disney princesses and what to do in your 20s.” Mark authored the Buzzfeed (or BuzzAdemia!) article “10 Reasons Why Professors Should Start Writing Buzzfeed Listicles.” 

I hope to foster an atmosphere of fun in DigLibArts. The goal of the DLA Buzzfeed will be to inspire students to see their education as something that can be played with and shared like anything else we interact with on social media.

Also, it gives us a chance to create gems like this: “Post Structuralism Explained with Hipster Beards: Part 1”

Sam Woehl

@SamWoehl @DLAStuTech