In terms of social media as a public space, I think of it as a public park. If you're like me, you find a picnic table that looks to be in a nice spot, sit down with a snack and a book, and enjoy the fresh air and squirrel watching. Or maybe you're there with convivial fellow picnickers and joking around using language you wouldn't use at work. Maybe people walk by that you want to say hi to (like your boss). Maybe people walk by that you want to ignore (like your boss). Maybe you start casually talking with fellow picknickers about how the park needs improvement in a certain area -- I'm guessing those conversations wouldn't be like a formal letter you'd write to the city council? Maybe someone is giving a performance or a speech and you wander over to enjoy it, or to mock it. Then some rough-housers come through and you decide to go back to your table to avoid the drama. But then as you're walking back, some jerk comes by and makes a lot of creepy remarks on your body -- what then? In a social media environment, you might be able to use a block button on that one account and mute certain words from people you don't follow, but that won't necessarily stop people from contacting your work email, phone, library administration, university administration.
But that kind of harassment also happens at library conferences and in reaction to formally sponsored library events, as many prominent advocates in the area of equity, diversity, and inclusion have experienced and spoken about.
Anyway, as I was musing to myself about what a Council social media Code of Conduct would be intended to do, Anna J. Clutterbuck made the following comment:
"I would definitely want research driven guidelines that account for how digital spaces reflect inequity & Black women face vastly more harassment and violence for simply existing than most of their white colleagues"
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In my own musings, I had been wondering what kind of behavior the Committee on Professional Ethics has been discussing for the past year -- the troll accounts I regularly see targeting Councilor April Hathcock and library director Chris Bourg, which often seem to have been created by librarians? It probably wouldn't control things like the library director who saw my tweets critiquing an article he wrote and sent a patronizing email to my work account, so would it be aimed at stopping me from publicly engaging with library scholarship? How about the random people who spout vitriol and nonsense? Or me for blocking those random potential or current ALA members? Or maybe me for co-hosting a #critlib chat in response to the events at the last ALA Council? How about the librarian who sent to a journalist a screenshot of the notes I took while live-tweeting the Robin Di'Angelo presentation with a directive to "please investigate this?"
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However, I suspect COPE's discussions this year have been about trying to control April Hathcock. Because April is a Black woman who is incredibly intelligent, writes with impressive clarity, and does not sugarcoat her critiques of racism, cisheterosexism, classism, or ableism within the profession. This makes her a threat to existing power structures. I am not privy to the notes COPE has presumably taken during their meetings, but I can put pieces together based on patterns within society at a broad level. As Sara Ahmed says, " "
It's possible I'm wrong though. I'm wrong more than I'd like. And in the case that I am, I thought it would be worth compiling a list of research on the topic that could be used to create a Code of Conduct that doesn't perpetuate this sort of unequal harm.
What other writings would you add to this list?
boyd, danah and Alice E. Marwick. "Social Privacy in Networked Publics: Teens' Attitudes, Practices, and Strategies. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1925128
Clutterbuck-Cook, Anna. "in which I write letters: open letter to SAA re: #thatdarnlist." https://thefeministlibrarian.com/2014/09/10/in-which-i-write-letters-open-letter-to-saa-re-thatdarnlist/
McMillan Cottom, Tressie. "Everything But The Burden: Publics, Public Scholarship, And Institutions." https://tressiemc.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/everything-but-the-burden-publics-public-scholarship-and-institutions/
McMillan Cottom, Tressie. The Real Threat To Campuses Isn’t ‘PC Culture.’ It’s Racism. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-cottom-campus-racism_us_5a8afb80e4b00bc49f471b41
Patton, Tracey Owens. "In the Guise of Civility: The Complicitous Maintenance of Inferential Forms of Sexism and Racism in Higher Education." https://doi.org/10.1080/07491409.2004.10162466
Schomberg, Jessica and Kirsti Cole. "Hush... : The Dangers of Silence in Academic Libraries." http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2017/hush-the-dangers-of-silence-in-academic-libraries/