It has been months since I last posted on this blog, but have no fear. I am still writing about Jane Austen! My current project is an article on Austen and social media. I am looking at four platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest) and how fans, scholars, and institutions post in relation to Austen. I wrote a draft this fall and am about to revise based on the editors’ suggestions.
Social media is important because Web 2.0 is a space where we interact with people across the world. I am “friends” online with people I know through school and work, but also I am “friends” with people I have never met before in person. That is actually one of my favorite parts of social media–sites, like Facebook and Twitter, help us expand our friend networks. Most of my never-met-in-person online “friends” are fellow scholars. We share common interests. We teach at universities. We write about the long eighteenth century. We write about Austen. It matters not that we haven’t breathed the same air, or sat side by side in chairs. It is possible that we will meet one day at a conference, but it is as likely that we won’t, and that’s OK. The online network, and our correspondence across social media, is as important and productive–heck maybe even more so–as what might occur in a face-to-face setting.
How does this relate to Jane Austen? It means that people share their interests and experiences with other Austen fans. They learn from scholars. They see what’s going on in the places Austen inhabited. As more of us embrace online networks and communities, we go to these places to interact with “Austen”–whatever versions of her exist on the Web, and as I explain in my article, there are more versions than you might think. 🙂
Stay tuned for more information as I revise and hopefully publish this paper.
For your pleasure I will leave you with one of the memes I mention in the paper: