Social media as a living CV for academics

This weekend I went back to my CV for the first time in a year and a half, condensing it down from nine pages into two pages for a particular application. Any work on it is always a strange and alienating experience. As Barbara Ehrenreich has put it, CVs “should have an odd, disembodied tone, as if [your] life had been lived by some invisible Other” (pg 28). This is even more the case when it comes to condensing what you have done. Selecting some things to make the cut while abandoning others in a process that abstracts even further from why you did these things and what they meant to you. A CV is a uniquely alienated and alienating form of life writing.

It once more made me think about how social media can function as a living CV, documenting the qualities which structure and convention obscure in the formal document. It provides background and context, reconstructing the lived engagements which are lost when they are reduced to a single item in a last. The ensuing living CV isn’t a document which can be scanned in one go, hence the problem when it is treated like this and superficial judgements of someone’s recent posts stand in for a sustained engagement with their online activity. But there’s something interesting here about how we represent ourselves in professional settings, as well as how others interpret those representations.

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About Mark