Why do you use social media? Kristin Alford


My guest post series “Why do you use social media?” is powering ahead, this week with Kristin Alford. Kristin is a futurist, technologist, communicator at Bridge8 and organiser of TEDxAdelaide.

I really enjoyed listening to Kristin’s address to Media140 recently, where her topic was “Digital dysphorias“.  As I witnessed Kristin bringing an iPad to a recent engagement party, I trust her experience in this regard. Enjoy!

1.    What is your favourite social media platform – and why?

Twitter. Because I use it is so many different ways. I follow lists of people from science, futures, Adelaide, media and politics and the arts so I get a feel for what’s going on in the world. I participate and co-organise chats like #onsci for science communicators and #futrchat for international futurists on topics of interest. I live tweet conferences as a form of note-taking and sharing. I get my news, recommended videos (like the latest TED one) and opinion articles through Twitter. And I socialise through #socadl and chatting with friends.

2.    What made you begin using social media?

@fang! I was using Facebook, and have been blogging since 2007. But I joined Twitter on the urging of @fang after a discussion on open science and in advance of the Science Online conference in London. It wasn’t hard to see how it could enhance my understanding of the world and expand the ideas we were exploring in blogging.

Kristin Alford
Kristin Alford

3.    What’s the question you’re asked most about Twitter?

1.    “Isn’t it just for talking about breakfast?” What’s wrong with breakfast? I like how Twitter can be so many things from the trivial statements of breakfast to breaking news. And how the diversity of its conversation oil social capital.
2.    “But don’t you find it distracting or time-consuming?” Yes. Yes I do. On many occasions. But occasionally I get the balance of my use right. And the benefits are worth it!

4.    Do you have a “plan” for your personal use of social media?

I decided to present my whole self online rather than focus only on certain parts of my identity. It’ part of a general philosophy in bring my whole self to work and being open and transparent in the way I work and in what I believe. I reflect my broad range of interests as a futurist, technologist, parent and in the context of where and how I live. That said I am conscious of the way I talk about my friends and family and try to preserve their privacy. I’m careful about not putting my own safety at risk. And I rarely criticise others in a demeaning way. But I hope that goes for offline as well.

5.    What do you gain from using social media?

Sometimes the click click click can be mind-numbing and at other times it provides space for reflection and expansion. Overall I’d say I’ve gained the three C’s: connection, collaboration and community. I’ve made close friends through social media and built working relationships. We’ve organised TEDxAdelaide and developed projects and interests with others that we might not have connected with otherwise. And there’s both online and offline communities like co-working spaces that have come directly from being on Twitter and aware of what’s happening in the community.

Now it’s your turn to contribute: why do you use social media?

One Comment Add yours

  1. Ben Teoh says:

    Kristin is doing some really amazing work in engaging people on Twitter in science discussions.

    We recently had her talk at NetSquared Adelaide on “Hashtag Science.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIkJ7Kn0Wfg

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