IR11 Learnings

IR11 (AoIR) - 15Now that a few days since the end of the AoIR Internet Research 11 (#IR11) conference, and I am struggling to get back into my regular work and studies, I want to take a few moments to debrief my experience and list some of the take-aways I have.

While I liveblogged all the sessions I attended, and had a somewhat active Twitter feed, there are a few things I have not said, namely what ideas and thoughts and experiences stand out to me as those critical incidents? What were some of the themes that I noticed that resonate with me?

  1. From the pre-conference session on career development for early academics, I take away the fact that others who have similar interests come from all over the place, and that academia as a second career is no longer (or becoming no longer) taboo. I thought I was the only one considering this, and was glad to see I was not isolated in this manner. As it is also apparent that European academics can move around, so can American ones. As I am between two systems (I live in New York and study in the UK), this comes with it many potential opportunities.
  2. Interdisciplinarity seems to be an acknolwedged benefit. While in many ways interdisciplinarity means people from various disciplines who work together on this or that project, I found it refreshing that there are a few others out there who share the internal interdisciplinarity that I have as well. Is it really so bad to feel constrained within silos, given how human history has so many examples of good ideas being shared and the benefits that arise from seeing the world with wide-open eyes, and not just limited ones?
  3. Being active on the conference backchannel presents interesting opportunities to connect. Just like in an office or other life situation, there seems to be a greater power in what unofficially happens than only what is listed on the schedule. How else to track some of this than following and participating in the conference backchannel (which in this case was Twitter #ir11).
  4. Following people on Twitter before or during a conference is entirely different than meeting them F2F. As many people do not use their real names or use avatars that do not resemble their current pictures, I struggle with making the connection. How many times I was next to people who I have spoken to numerous times and with whom there were missed connections. Likewise, there were a number of people I spoke to who I now regret not getting cards or other ways of maintaining contact. Wish there were a contact list with the participants!
  5. Another thing I noticed was how much I like liveblogging and Twitter streaming during conferences. I have done this before, but it seems to take on an entirely new world when there are others with a tech interest in attendance. Nothing like talking about ideas I started to develop earlier.
  6. Finally, my research paper. I have never had so many people show interest in my research before, though having spoken to 8 people in the following hour after I presented my paper, and coming away with so many new ideas and next steps, I believe that I got what I came for from this conference–ideas for next steps for my research and some new possible directions for my doctoral thesis proposal which I begin working on in January. While I did not expect anything specific, being open to the moment and open to suggestions can have powerful effects.

This all said, I am now looking forward to Internet Research 12, which is scheduled to be in Seattle in 2011.

 

From Friending to Gaming: Game Culture on Social Network Sites

Here is the final session of the conference. What a light way with a serious subject to end a very full AoIR IR11. I wonder how people have the time for this, and I wonder what the effect would be if I tried one or more of these?

Moreover, I wonder too what extent people who research the area of gaming in turn play games? That seemed answered at one point.

Perhaps I should try one of these?

 

Knowledge Sharing, Collaboration, and Attribution

e-Research is the distributed and collaborative use of digital tools and data in the production of scientific knowledge. Interesting definition; wonder who developed it? Some really interesting researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute. Eric T. Meyer, Ralph Schroeder, and Lucy Power.

Discussion of accessing files from Friendfeed, specifically about Friendfeed groups that can be highly specific. Seems like a powerful opportunity to develop a communication network.

I want their work around e-Research; was told it was online (search for Eric T. Meyer).

Christiano Orsi Pio (originally was from Brazil) is now speaking about Corporate portals as tools for information sharing within organizations. Hmm, I have used many a corporate portal, and while some are fantasic, those are among the more expensive ones. Interesting  that his research showed more struggles with small organizational adoption than large ones using portals.

Roger Altizer from Entertainment Arts and Engineering at the University of Utah (the Master Games Studio) is speaking on Sustaining Participation through citation, or gaming attribution. My first game-based presentation I have attended. Struggling to keep up with aspects (names, companies, etc.). Well, as there were so many presentations at ir11 about games, glad I have finally been able to make at least one of them.

When Internet is not Sustainable Platform for Knowledge Sharing: The (Rise and) Fall of Google Lively is the final paper in the session by Isto Huvila. I have heard of this, though never saw it before the screenshot that Isto just showed. Interesting research around how a virtual world chat space ended and what the fans and users did, at first to protest and then beg and finally to move to other locations.

 

Nancy Baym: This Song’s for You (Keynote)

Nancy Baym  is about to deliver the final keynote for AoIR IR11. Rather humorous, and from sitting in the next to last row (like the Church of the Internet), I can see and hear computers and Twitter back-channel specs so much that I wonder how much Nancy is being listened to. I Tweeted about this as a matter of fact.

This interactive audience and keynote would make for an amazing performative study.

Anyway, I am Tweeting about this along the way, and will leave most of my comments there.

 

Approaches to Internet Research (& My Paper)

This is the session where I will also present my paper, Public Transformations: Adult Learners Who  Use Social Media to Express and Understand Their Identities as Developing Researchers.

Alas, the room was just changed, and I fear many people do not know it was changed as not everybody looks on the notification board or follow Twitter. That is ok, we will go with the flow.

As my paper is not about liveblogging, and I need to get into the frame for this presentation, I will not liveblog my own session, sign off, and focus on my research at hand.

 

Constructing Narratives of Self and Community in the Age of the Internet

Glad I was able to make the first session this morning; thankfully today began at 9:00 instead of the 8:30 yesterday.

This morning’s session is about digital storytelling, something I have never been able to get my mind around as a research methodology / process / strategy.

Much of this work started and was supported from the California-based Center for Digital Storytelling. It was intended to give a voice to the author by the use of computer tools. It is a method and a movement and can be understood as a distinct media genre.

The identity of the narrator is present in the story, and this was individualistic but prescriptive, being used to represent the self. It has developed into something that is moving to institutional use. It originally helped to create communities through capturing the lives of individuals. This moving from the development from narrativing selves  to narrating community signaled a shift from individual to the institutional to capture life by telling stories.

Mediatized stories and narratives of media ambivalence as identity markers are both concepts discussed by presenters.

One of the classic works in this area is Story Circle, which is about digital storytelling throughout the world.

With changes in Web 2.0, digital storytelling continues to change dramatically.

Interesting affordances for self-representation comparing digital storytelling and Facebook. #ir11

Ahh, now onto community identity construction through apologetics; religious use and how constructed narratives are established to form and support communities.

The last presenter is not using slides. Seems fitting for a presentation on stroytelling, though it is rather heavy theory and I am struggling to keep up as I do not have a widde background in this. Would have been nice to have a visual agenda of the argument at least, and I am right now lost.

Nice discussion about this storytelling.

I asked a question — have you studied any communities or use of digital storytelling to control populations, rather than just continue to promote community or continue emphasizing mainstream religions or communities, rather than something that may not be as widely accepted (such as a cult or terrorist cell). Alas, only based on “good community.”