Engaging with social media: an exercise in self-reflection
For many, engagement with social media is a daily practice (in some cases, people engage multiple times per day). Many people do not even think about it or consider it a ‘task’ to be undertaken. They tweet, they post on Facebook, add random (or non-random) content to Pinterest, but do the social media enthusiasts among us really stop to consider what they are adding to the limitless, undefined space that is the internet?
Social media outlets are meant to be a means for people to engage with one another; to share common interests. The question then arises: what is of interest? To figure out how to engage with social media, an internal discussion must come first. I will use myself as an example.
Within the sphere of archaeology, we all work on that which is the past of humanity, however we do not all actively engage with all parts of the history of humanity. For my part, I generally engage with the past of humanity in ancient Egypt. My skew within archaeology is toward the very ancient (approximately 6000-4700 years ago), and toward mortuary practices. I do not often engage with the every-day lives of the ancient Egyptians. In point of fact, I only reflexively engage with their lives through the disposal of their dead. I also do not engage with the recent archaeological past of Egypt.
What does all of this mean? I had to mitigate within my own mind the engagement with what I would consider very modern history. Michigan State University has obviously not been around for thousands of years, or even hundreds of years. We count our history at MSU in terms of decades, not centuries. This is a concept very foreign to me with regard to archaeology. How old is old? Does something have more gravity if it is 5000 years old than if it is less than 100 years old? Is something more interesting if it is 5000 years old? After having been a part of CAP now, even for a short period of time, I would have to answer “no” to that last question. The archaeological history of MSU is unique, interesting and quite extraordinary in the grand scheme of archaeology.
So, I have been circling the airport, and now it is time to land. My point, though it may have been obscured by the clouds through which I was navigating, is that finding the unique and interesting quality of the subject matter with which you engage is the first step to actually spreading that interest to other people via social media. The history of MSU represented by the physical, tangible remnants of our Spartan history, is extremely interesting, quirky, and draws all people, whether alumni, current students, faculty, staff, or simply the interested observer to our little corner of the internet. This is the place where the rusty nail, the corroded spoon, the broken ceramics and the bits of construction debris return to the discussion of “what makes MSU?”
I invite you all to be personally engaged with this topic, the way I and all the members of CAP are engaged with it. Ask us questions via Twitter or Facebook! For us to better engage you, we need to know how you, our followers engage with the history of MSU. Let’s start a conversation! What do you want to know about the archaeological history of MSU?
Author: Andy LoPinto