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Happy that my research on how professional norms of sustainability #expertise are deliberated in online forums is finally published in a wonderful new edited volume by @routledgebooks! Email me if you'd like a PDF copy. 1/start
2. Basically, I examined how sustainability practitioners talk about disciplinary expertise and knowledge among themselves -- or, their #vernacularrhetoric -- in an online discussion thread posted by a @LinkedIn public group.
3. My underlying argument is that professional networking sites like @LinkedIn @Meetup & @XING_de are not just resources for practitioners to network for job opportunities, but also spaces where disciplinary expertise -- basically, what counts as worth knowing -- are deliberated!
4. I found that sustainability workers shifted strategically across online and offline norms of decorum, political correctness, and professional behavior on these @LinkedIn discussion threads, to establish some forms of expertise as legitimate and devalue others.
5. Even though the online forum allowed professionals to be more "casual" than they might have been at an industry or work event offline, and they were somewhat open to new expertise and knowledge, I found that disciplinary loyalties still trumped this openness! #StayInYourLane
6. Specifically, I traced three communication episodes of Evaluation, Competition, and Inversion, whereby sustainability workers engaged with new ideas in the discussion thread, which both reiterated and challenged their disciplinary expertise and norms.
7. These episodes of deliberating professional expertise differed in terms of how problems and solutions were treated, disciplinary knowledge engaged, political values emphasized, and different deliberative logics employed to "win" the ongoing argument.
8. Essentially, then, this research helps understand how workers engage each other and online spaces like @LinkedIn to debate professional norms and knowledge, which sometimes leads to new ideas and possibilities, but can also shut down voices deemed too radical.
9. You can read the full chapter, and many other awesome works on how people use online spaces to both legitimize AND challenge established ideas in this awesome new book by Andrew Ross and Damian Rivers routledge.com/Discourses-of-…
10/end. Finally, if you want to check out some awesome new professional networking sites, here's a pretty great list by @lifewiretech: lifewire.com/business-socia… #expertise #knowledge
@LinkedIn 8.A Just to point out, while this may not be such a big deal for disciplines where norms and standards of expertise are already well-established (e.g., medicine, law, marketing), that can be problematic in areas like #sustainability work, which are both interdisciplinary and new!
8.B So, for instance, if you're in an interdisciplinary discussion about carbon capture technologies with an engineer, policymaker, public relations specialists, and chemist, you want to be able to come up with new ideas that might not pass muster in any one of those fields.
8.C Thus, one recommendation might be for moderators of such online professional spaces to set explicit guidelines on free-flowing discussion of new ideas, added civility, and enhanced reflexivity, so that participants try to honestly consider the merits of different positions.
8.D We might not be able to ban politics entirely from professional networking sites (nor do I think we should!), but we might be able to understand better our own professional, personal and political biases, without slamming the door on great new ideas! :-)
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