Welcome to the blog, everyone! For my classmates who don’t already know me, I’m Mary Catherine Owen. I’m a transplant to Albany from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and have lived here for the past five years while first earning my Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Saint Rose, and now my Master’s in the English program.
I enjoyed reading Brian Croxall’s paper “The Absent Presence: Today’s Faculty,” because it points out how the established university system is failing to provide many teachers in the humanities with adequate salaries and benefits, which in turn affects those teachers’ ability to not only acquire tenure-track positions, but also to reach their students with the utmost efficacy. As Croxall proves by posting his paper online, one of the options for these teachers to at least get their work out to the public is to utilize social media like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and their ilk.
As a student, the Internet has also been my main tool for putting my name out in the world as a writer; whether anyone has noticed it, I can’t be sure, but a Google search for my name can provide a virtual portfolio of the scholarly and personal work I’ve been doing over the past few years. My first published pieces were accepted by an online-only journal, Defenestration. I took an English class during my undergraduate work at Saint Rose that focused solely on blogging as a platform for writing, which resulted in this blog. A previous class on Asian American literature with Dr. Middleton spawned this blog. My British Literature class project was creating this blog about film adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels.
I say all this not to toot my own horn, but to illustrate how my identity as a writer and scholar has been mostly defined by my use of online outlets, rather than the traditional route of print journals. I think that more and more, particularly as my generation of media-literate writers comes up in the ranks, we will encounter each other’s work more often through the Internet, which has the potential to lead to more discussion and widespread consumption of said work than previously possible.
One of the assignments for this class is to watch Joss Whedon’s television series Dollhouse. When I think of an example of narrative in the digital age, I turn to another Whedon work, his 2008 collaboration with his brothers Zack and Jed and sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. It has “blog” in its title, but Dr. Horrible is really a mix of several traditional genres. It’s a miniseries! It’s a musical! It’s a comedy, but sort of a drama, too! It was recognized as slightly revolutionary in that it was only distributed online, garnering the show the #15 spot on Time‘s Best Inventions of 2008. Watching Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was one of the catalysts that fueled my interest in social media and online publication, and the limitless possibilities for creation of all kinds of narratives.
Although I often cling to old technology for far too long (I still have VHS tapes, for example), I have tried to stay on top of the trends in social media. Almost all my communication with friends happens on Facebook at this point; I have been on Twitter for over two years now. For this reason, I am excited to incorporate social media into this class, and to learn more about the way the digital age is shaping the narratives being created today.