The day I realized that, for me, Facebook was not just a photo album or a daily reunion of high school classmates was mildly* life altering. ABD and needing a respite from thinking and writing in the cultural register necessary for a dissertation, I sought out alternative ways to discuss what I was trying to theorize. Discussing notions of acceptable Black womanhood, for example, began as as a more traditional conversation but exploded into a cacophany of Black women singing lines from their favorite R&B songs as a way of playfully engaging the "shade" thrown at us by mainstream media. I would keep posting and people would keep talking and at some point I realized that by turning my Facebook page into a discussion board of sorts, I unintentionally stumbled upon a place of community that reveled in what I will call "foolywang studies." Foolywang studies, characterized by a balance of droll humor and thoughtfulness, allows for conversation across a myriad of tones, vernaculars, backgrounds, and cultural specificities.
Here's the point: Creating a space to talk plainly and humourously about the issues surrounding our research is a key component to building a digital, scholarly community. My Facebook friend list, made up of those both inside and out academe, is a part of that community. Sharing links to articles is part of the process but more than that, having a smart and diverse cohort to partake in the foolywang with me and generating conversation around those issues is where the magic happens.
*Mildly life altering because I believe in constraining my hyperbole.