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I'm an assistant professor at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, where I teach and research how news sites can better reach their audiences. I received my Ph.D. from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri where I was one of the founding editors of MyMissourian.com, a citizen journalism site for Columbia, Mo. Before graduate school, I worked as a community newspaper editor in Southern Utah and Southern California.

Joining @wilw’s Twitter joke recharges my Internet teaching ability

Even though I teach online journalism, I still feel like an Internet lurker most days. Wednesday I came up with what I thought was a pretty witty reply

… to this thread Wil Wheaton started …

… only to realize someone beat me to the punchline. They wouldn’t have beat me if I hadn’t been so reticent to post, and now I’m wondering why. Did I lack confidence in my joke? Was I too starstruck to reply to Wesley Crusher’s thread? Or do I still feel a little bit outside of the Internet conversation?

Too often I think my knowledge of social media, Web building, and online culture is academic. I’ve never built a website beyond this blog, I don’t have a million or even a thousand followers on Twitter, and my tweets and Facebook status updates are about as common as Hailey’s comet sightings. My perceived lack of online experience undermines this blog sometimes as well. I’ve usually got three or four draft posts for which I can’t quite click the publish button because I don’t feel like the foremost Internet expert I’m trying to be.

And that’s where the Catch 22 comes in. I’m never going to gain online experience unless I take a chance. On the Internet, you’ve got to be willing to put yourself out there, maybe giving up a bit or privacy or risking a bit of credibility in the process.

Thankfully, I’ve found the Internet is one of the most forgiving and supportive environments in which to try. Most readers don’t pore through your posts looking for bad grammar or misspellings. Their goal isn’t to find inaccuracies or holes in your arguments, and if they do they usually nicely post a comment at the end.

Even though I was late, I’m glad I posted my joke, even if every Twitter follower reads my joke and scratches his or her head. I haven’t received any feedback or retweets, but who cares. You never know how or even if your posts resonate with readers, but what’s most important is joining the conversation. Hopefully joining this one will invigorate my teaching and motivate me to post more often.

By the way, if you want got Wil’s LOTR joke and my MTG reference, you can sort of follow the thread here (It’s just a Twitter search for @wilw). Someone tried to create a hashtag (#gimlisbros) but it didn’t take.

PhotoCredit: The Twitter screenshots are mine, but thanks to DuneChaser for the cool Lego Gimli (shared via Flickr and a Creative Commons license.)

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  1. Tweets that mention Joining @wilw Twitter joke recharges Internet teaching | Give the 'Net credit -- Topsy.com - September 9, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by scrippsjschool, Nick Jones. Nick Jones said: Joining @wilw Twitter joke recharges Internet teaching | Give the … http://bit.ly/d1fCHm […]

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