Reviewing professor Jesse Stommel’s Web presence.

Is social media the new academic tool? When I think about Instagram or Facebook, my mind instantly pictures a space of personal independence, where I can get in touch with friends or meet other people with similar interests and concerns as my own; although, to be honest, most of the times it’s just the space where I feel free to unleash my more sarcastic side. However, having been tasked with reviewing Professor Jesse Stommel’s social media, I now feel a dreadful urgency to delete all the tweets I’ve ever made –especially those from my teenage years (¡Ay Dios Mio!). 

As I’ve told you about myself, I’m generally drawn to whatever –and whomever– helps me rethink our classical conceptions of the traditional classroom. Thus, when I first glanced at Professor Stommel’s Twitter, it didn’t take much for a certain sense of affinity to arise. Unlike my younger (and shameful) self, for him, every tweet stands as a declaration of principles on the state of pedagogy in general, as well as on the changes that academia must desperately undertake –a topic he addresses by shedding considerable light on the needs of neurodivergent students, as well as those who come from marginalized backgrounds. 

When reviewing Professor Stommel’s Twitter, then, it’s clear that kindness and compassion are the two main principles guiding his teaching philosophy. 

His declarations, however, don’t only revolve around the task of teaching. In effect, many of his Tweets deal directly with the academic job market and the condemnable ways it treats its workers, be it by denying them decent wages, stability, and just generally for fostering a toxic culture of intellectual productivity where personal fulfillment is scarce and undervalued. 

Aside from his Tweets, however, Professor Stommel also attaches a link to his personal website for those curious enough to check it –so, let’s talk a little bit about it! The homepage of his website is his blogging page, and by the contents of every entry, we can immediately notice that his Twitter account content correlates to his website. (https://www.jessestommel.com)

As you go through the webpage, three links stand out: his Bio, his Curriculum Vitae, and a link to his recent book (open access in exchange for any donation amount). 

These sites are very carefully curated; every image is meaningful not only in conveying a message, but also for creating a sense of familiarity and approachability –his Bio, for instance, includes a picture from his childhood. Despite this, the only problem I could point out is that every page is written in the first person, except for the bio, which is written in the third person. While I understand the need for formality, this messes up a bit with the intention of the images, since it might create a distance between the website and the audience. 

Overall, I conclude that since Professor Stommel’s presence is not disseminated on many webs, he can maintain a cohesive academic persona on the internet. Also, it is possible to appreciate how he plays between his private and public persona; every now and then, he leaves us a glimpse of his personal world by talking about his husband and baby girl.

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