Forskare, bloggare och selfiefotograf

Från mitt Instagramkonto: selfie, slumpgenerator, det pinsamma ögonblick då båda i Rapportstudion hade likadana kläder, frisyr och glasögon, om ungdomens nöjesläsning och när jag skulle packa in böcker till vinnarna i min utlottning.

Nordicom släppte precis sitt senaste nummer av Nordicom Information som har temanamnet Medieforskning i samhället: relationen mellan bransch och akademi. Jag medverkar på ett hörn i artikeln The scholarly use of social media: How to make the most of it (sidan 9) med en intervju som gjordes tidigare i vår och där jag bland annat försvarar selfies som genre. De har även valt att illustrera artikeln med lite exempel från mitt Instagramkonto.

Elza Dunkels: “I feel a need to support the selfies genre”

Tell me briefly about your relationship with the social media tools you are using the most and how your relationship to them has developed. It’s not really that strange that I’m so immersed in social media as my research is concerned with young people’s online cultures. So, it was quite natural for me to engage in early social media in the late 1990’s. Now, I see only benefits in having these channels to communicate with the surrounding world. What kind of a communication strategy do you have on Instagram? How do you decide what you want to post and when? Are there themes you do not want to address? I try to be bold and courageous when it comes to posting on all my channels. I think the world will be a better place if we share experiences and thoughts quite freely. However, I’m careful not to post about other people without their consent. The channels differ in character, and I attempt to act accordingly. On Instagram I post pictures, of course, but they are always accompanied by comments, short or long. I have a photo project on Instagram, called #skärmtid which is Swedish term for “screen time”. In this project I depict positive screen time, mostly with kids as models but I sometimes include adults. I also post loads of selfies as a part of my activism for children’s rights. I see the need to support the selfies genre and help elevate it to a more reasonable position than it has today. Because the art of selfies was initiated by young girls, it has been frowned upon. My aim on Instagram is to show solidarity with young girls and to educate adults on the subject. Other subjects that recur on my Instagram are sexism and childism, which I understand as the oppression of the young. I also use Instagram to share my work life: travels, conferences, media appearances, publications and so on. As any woman who dares to claim a position in the public debate, I receive a lot of hate speech because of my posts. So, I always have a plan for any social media posting or media appearance: I need to make sure I have company and that someone can screen my inboxes if I touch any sensitive subjects. Unfortunately, today, we who receive hate mail have to fend for ourselves. Hopefully, it will change over time. How well does research as a topic suit the visual tools of communications? For me, this has never been a problem. In fact, it would be harder to communicate my research if I could not use visual media. I need to visualise a lot of my research results, such as the problematisation of the discourse around girls posting selfies. I also often post media headlines that illustrate emotional reactions towards young people’s Internet use. But, of course, you need to practice. Just as you need to learn how to do research, you need to learn how to communicate it. In your opinion, what have been the biggest benefits of being an engaged researcher in social media? It’s hard to imagine what my professional life would be like without social media, since I have never tried it. But I suppose it would have been hard, maybe impossible, to reach all the interesting and interested people I have reached now. Right now, I am part of the #blogg100 project, so I post every day for 100 days, ending in June. The #blogg100 is a yearly campaign initiated by Fredrik Wass (http://bisonblog.se, Twitter @fredrikwass), a social media veteran. It encourages bloggers to post once a day from March 1st every year. For me, this works as an incentive to disseminate stuff that’s been standing in the pipeline for too long. I can give my followers daily updates on what is happening in my research field. I take the responsibility to communicate my research very seriously. Universities are publicly funded, and we are obligated to pay back by disseminating our results.