As a relatively new tenure-track professor in journalism and media, I teach students skills and critical thinking for a profession that is in a state of redefinition. One of the ways journalism educators are trying to increase their students’ job opportunities is by encouraging them to develop a “personal brand,” through which they establish themselves as a rising professional with a unique voice and style. They then publicize that personal brand through multimedia blogging and social media, in hopes of impressing prospective employers with their initiative and distinctive qualities.
I think that this kind of engagement, through social media and other communication opportunities, is critical for someone who wants not only to teach about important societal issues in the classroom, but also to contribute to change on a larger scale. Attempting to establish myself online as someone with a voice and some expertise in my field gives me a bigger platform from which to speak.
Unlike my students, though, I have no one to remind me to remain true to myself and to monitor the integrity of what I do and say. That responsibility falls to me alone.