Three books that shaped my work

I’ve always been fascinated by the internal conversations we have with ourselves but until I read this book I didn’t realise this was something it was possible to study. I used this approach in my PhD to explore the internal conversations of students as they confronted the opportunities and challenges of undergraduate life. This is the lens through which I view digital technology as something which we are always thinking about or failing to think about.

I endlessly use the term ‘platform’ and this book is the reason why. It helped me understand that social media are not tools which we can pick up and put down but rather infrastructures which have been designed to shape our behaviour in particular ways. It provides a much wider perspective on social media that helps us be critical of these platforms while recognising that there are limits to their power to shape our behaviour.

Over the last decade platforms have become routine features of teaching and research within universities. I was originally enthusiastic about social media in universities but I’m now concerned that there are unintended consequences which aren’t being addressed. I’ve approached these questions through the concept of digital scholarship I first encountered in this book. It’s a useful way of thinking about what exactly academics do and how the use of platforms is changing this.

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