Podcast: Don Moynihan on #TantalizingTopofHumanHeads

The UW-Madison professor discusses his Twitter adventures, both silly and serious.

The UW-Madison professor discusses his Twitter adventures, both silly and serious.


As a professor at UW-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs, Don Moynihan is widely respected for his research on the way public agencies function. He’s also a hoot on Twitter. I asked him to come on the Tone Madison podcast this week to talk about #TantalizingTopofHumanHeads. It’s a hashtag Moynihan recently coined to mock the Facebook-esque dropdown cards that sometimes appear with news articles on Twitter, and tend to crop people’s official portraits in a way that cuts off the bottom halves of their faces. The hashtag has yet to take off beyond Moynihan and a few people who are greatly amused by it (myself included), but it strikes me as a perfect riff on social-media minutiae. After all, when your timeline is full of disembodied foreheads, it suggests that Twitter and other media organizations are screwing up what should be a relatively simple problem of web development and visual presentation.

I admittedly come to this story with some bias. I want #TantalizingTopofHumanHeads to take off. I’m also still a little sore that one of my own hashtag experiments, #WinsomeRock (inspired by a somewhat dippy New York Times story about Wisconsin music), failed to take off. Y’all are jerks for not supporting it. But anyway.

My conversation with Don also turned to more serious matters, namely the complex relationship academics have with social media, and the role of social media in the UW System’s bruising fight over tenure and funding. Give it a listen below. Music on this segment by Brain Grimmer.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and catch WORT-FM’s weeknight local news show, which partners with us to produce these. Thanks to Dylan Brogan for producing this interview.

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