Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"If you post it, they will come."

As promised, I posted my thesis statement on Facebook.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get feedback on such an academic idea! Normally I would never have associated my schoolwork with my social feeds; those two things have always been in two separate worlds in my mind. I was happy and proud to see friends, famil
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y and distant relatives comment on my idea.

The fact that people I knew were eager to give me feedback made me feel like my ideas were valuable, intelligent and worthwhile. It has given me the confidence to try this again in the future for every essay I write. For me, the term "Social Proof" is no longer a hollow academic buzzword, but a helpful process through which caring people help you along the difficult journey of writing a paper.

Some of the Facebook comments I received helped me see the direction which my thesis could take, mentioning themes I could follow. Other comments focused on the structure of the thesis statement itself, forcing me to reconsider what subject is most important in my claim. I was even asked by someone I met in Mexico to translate my thesis into Spanish -- which actually helped me think carefully about the wording of my statement, and therefore its overall meaning.

Everything that everyone had to say was worth something, even if it was only encouragement.

While I have worked with my peers in this very blog, I have learned something valuable: Just as people in
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social networks can make academic contributions, people in academic networks can make social contributions.
 Let me explain.

As I have read the posts of my scholarly neighbors, I have learned from their work in an academic sense. But I have also caught glimpses into their personal lives: the feelings, experiences, and histories of living, breathing humans which drive their work and affect their thinking. (Look at Rachel's post for a touching example of this. Thanks, Rachel!) Also, the comments I have received on my own posts have been both informative and uplifting. (Thanks to Sophie and others! You know who you are!)

I'm coming to finally realize (after a decade of writing essays) that writing deals not just with ideas, but with real people, their emotions and their personal lives. That's a beautiful thing.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Adam. I liked your insight about people in academic networks making social contributions. I was wondering, however, about the specific claim you circulated and the specific feedback you received...