Perhaps one of the scariest things in the world is having a professor request to follow you on Twitter.
No, I take that back. The scariest thing is having a student request to follow you on a social media site. However, the professor one is right up on second.
A few years ago, when I first started teaching, I allowed my students to “friend” me on Facebook. After a few months, I started squirming uncomfortably, not really enjoying how much my students suddenly knew about me. Not really appreciating their comments that they hoped I had a good time grading papers or that they hoped I would give them an A on the next paper. No, no, no. I’m not for that. Thanks to an unfortunate situation with one of the students, however, I was given a reason to defriend them all. Whew. Wipe the sweat from my brow, it was over. Now, I do tell them that they can friend me after they graduate…but by that time, most of them forget. That’s a win if I ever saw one.
On the other hand, I have friended my professors.
A running partner asked me one day why I friended my professors on Facebook. To which I responded, “It’s harder to be mean to a student who you know well.” And Facebook gives you that superficial knowledge that you need to be closer with your professors. Heck, that’s why my students friended me. That’s why I friend my professors. Granted, it’s a bit different at the Ph.D. level, as you are significantly closer with your professors than in during your undergraduate degree, but the bottom-line reasoning is the same.
Also, nothing gets me more excited on Facebook than seeing that one of my professors have commented or “liked” something on my profile. Eeek!!! They’re proud of me for becoming ABD!!! They “liked” that I ran eight miles today!! Hooray!
However, Twitter is a different story.
I don’t use Twitter that often, but, when I do, it’s a bit more sarcastic. Fewer people follow me on Twitter, and I’m a bit more sardonic on Twitter. In fact, during my “Summer of Hades” where I took 12 hours of IT, I wrote a smart-aleck Twitter comment each. day. about how awful the classes were. That’s not the worst of it! This past summer, when I had He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named as a joke of a professor (granted, not at the university where I will receive my diploma – it was a transfer class), I ranted about him on a regular basis. I still rant about him on a regular basis. And he knows it, I’m sure. My boss told me recently, in fact, that when that professor asked me, “What did you learn in this class?” I probably shouldn’t have said, “Absolutely nothing.” Whatever. I passed with a B, and while it still irks me that it wasn’t an A, I am done with that professor.
See? Still ranting.
A couple of days ago, I noticed that my adviser had an “official” Twitter account. What I mean is, he has a Twitter account with his name, but he posts about Super Duper University activities. AND, what made it 10 times cooler, he had posted a picture with four of his doctoral students – and one of them was me!!!
I did start following him on Twitter, mainly due to the picture. It psyched me up. And, therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he requested to follow me. It actually flattered me. But, with that came something else: fear.
I don’t think he’s actually going to go through every single Twitter post I’ve written, but I did check the last few months’ worth to make sure none of them were…ahem, snarky. After that check, I clicked “yes” on approve follower.
Now, I’ve just got to remember that he’s there…