Banish the Expert

I finished my doctorate. (Finally.)

I’ve taken about two months to decompress– made a big new perennial garden, broken in a new bicycle– and now I’m easing in to the realm of What’s Next?

The plan this summer is to banish the Expert from my life on the interwebz. That Expert being me, of course.

amplification-1294300_640Spend enough time working, researching, reading, teaching in academe and you can build yourself a nice little soapbox from which to Hold Forth.

Which is not to say one doesn’t know a thing or two, or have a thing or two to contribute. But once you start to position yourself as an Expert, or even think you need to, all kinds of invisible, unspoken rules build up. Invisible expectations (I guess most expectations are invisible) become a force– you take up thought patterns you aren’t even aware of and your actions flow from there.

(My dear Foucault would remind me of the always-working discursive regime in which power dynamics…ahem. Discussions of theoretical frames can wait for another time.)

Here are some of my observations about the effects of putting on the Expert:

  1. You stop letting yourself make mistakes in public, i.e., on a blog, Twitter, other social media platforms. Actually, you stop letting yourself take risks in public, which means
  2. You stop being a learner, which means…
  3. You stop: having fun, building authentic relationships. Your curiosity crawls off to a dark little cave and tries to stay warm at a tiny little private fire. Learning? Harsh. Lonely. Cold. …
  4. You use social media to promote your Expert self which means…
  5. You may be present in the rough and tumble of the web, but you risk sounding hollow, self-aggrandizing, even a little self-centered…
  6. which means that ultimately, you’re not helping to build the web toward its fullest potential as a creative, collaborative space of possibilities, relationships, and, dare I say, hope. (1)

I say, guilty as

I say, too, there are reasons my instincts have led me to back away from traditional academia.

I say, OMG, more ways to make sense of all I’ve learned from my grad school journey. Opportunities to see how I can, how I want to contribute.

Hotcha. Hello summer. Hello #clmooc. Hello blog, Inoreader, Twitter, everything.

Time to have a little fun around here.


  1. ” The dream behind the Web is of a common information space in which we communicate by sharing information. Its universality is essential: the fact that a hypertext link can point to anything, be it personal, local or global, be it draft or highly polished. There was a second part of the dream, too, dependent on the Web being so generally used that it became a realistic mirror (or in fact the primary embodiment) of the ways in which we work and play and socialize. That was that once the state of our interactions was on line, we could then use computers to help us analyze it, make sense of what we are doing, where we individually fit in, and how we can better work together.” Tim Berners-Lee, from The World Wide Web: A very short personal history

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