Posted in Persona

Thoughts on My Online Persona

Social media provide a wide open space for social exchange and personal expression.  This openness is both its strength and its weakness.  Anything is possible, and in practice nearly everything does indeed take place online.  For anyone entering into this space, you have to choose your online persona.  Now that I’ve been posting on this site for six months or so, I thought it would be useful to explain the kind of persona I have chosen to adopt in my blog.  Since I like binaries, I have come to think about the alternatives as a choice between two strikingly different personas.  It’s easiest to depict them visually, so here they are:

We are all familiar with the many roosters we encounter online.  They like to strut and crow and pick fights.  That’s what I want to avoid, both because that’s not who I am and also because it’s not who I want to be.  Instead of the rooster, I see myself in the other image above: the contemplative monkey, sitting on a wall with his legs crossed, thinking deep thoughts.  It’s good to be a thinker, but it’s also good not to take yourself too seriously — which happens all too often with professors.  It’s useful to remind myself from time to time:  OK, I’m still just a monkey sitting on the wall.  So lighten up.

Author:

David F. Labaree is Lee L. Jacks Professor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education and a professor (by courtesy) in history. His research focuses on the historical sociology of American schooling, including topics such as the evolution of high schools, the growth of consumerism, the origins and nature of education schools, and the role of schools in promoting access and advantage more than subject-matter learning. He was president of the History of Education Society and member of the executive board of the American Educational Research Association. His books include: The Making of an American High School (Yale, 1988); How to Succeed in School Without Really Learning: The Credentials Race in American Education (Yale, 1997); The Trouble with Ed Schools (Yale University Press, 2004); Someone Has to Fail: The Zero-Sum Game of Public Schooling (Harvard, 2010); and A Perfect Mess: The Unlikely Ascendancy of American Higher Education (Chicago, 2017).

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