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Roundtable: Social Networking Sites October 25, 2007

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Saturday morning I went to the roundtable on social networking sites. More and more I’m finding that the distinction between blogs and social networking is unclear, so I was quite sure that this would be an interesting discussion and relevant to what I’m doing. The panelists were Daniel Skog, danah boyd, Amanda Lenhart, Jan Schmidt (who has blogged his responses to the pre-posed questions here), Nicole Ellison, Nancy Baym, and Jeff Hammerbacher.

The format that the session took makes it hard to do a coherent write-up… so mostly I’m going to transcribe my notes. (more…)

Session: Carl Couch Awards October 25, 2007

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On Friday I also went to the Carl Couch Awards session.  This is an award from the Carl Couch Center for Social and Internet Research for student papers analyzing the Internet from a symbolic interactionist perspective.  I won second place in the 2003 competition with my paper on (re)embodying the virtual space of text-based chat rooms, and I figured I would go hear what this year’s winners were doing.  As in my year, the first and second place winners were there. (more…)

Session: Vlogs and Visual Media October 25, 2007

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Friday was my day of going to stuff that sounds cool and is fun to think about but isn’t necessarily directly related to my research. In this session we saw a film presentation from Richard Hall on video bloggers, from Elizabeth Losh on blogspats and “visual arguments”, from Erika Pearson on Fanips, and from Lori Kendall on multi-media conversations. (more…)

See, I really was there! October 22, 2007

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space and place

Originally uploaded by buridan
Thanks to Jeremy for the shot, and not for posting the “giant pez dispenser” shot.

Session: Space & Place October 20, 2007

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This was my session! Mark’s and my paper (Space and Place: New Playgrounds of 21st Century Life) was paired with papers by Jakob Linaa Jensen on virtual tourism and a paper by Homero Gil de Zuniga about geoidentity and new vs. traditional media.

(more…)

Panel: Symbolic Frontiers October 19, 2007

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Here we have a panel about borders, boundaries, and a lot of stuff about linking.

Alex Halavais is looking at Google local and at who links to whom within countries. I missed the first bit of his presentation (having finally managed to connect with my family via IM and, frankly, talking to my three-year-old took priority – sorry Alex!) but what I heard was pretty interesting about how patterns of linking are largely constrained by geographic borders, with the exception that people are linking to the U.S. (generic TLDs) and to the UK.

Darren Purcell is looking at maintenance and importance of borders, and how there’s a “pedagogy of space” (Newman & Passi 1998; I haven’t yet had a chance to track down the full cite) goign on – and that this pedagogy is being facilitated and broadened by ICTs.  We understand borders in a contextual manner.  He used this perspective to address how ICTs are being used to monitor the U.S./Mexico border and how the border is being constructed and taught through a couple of Facebook groups.

Finally, Suely Fragoso talked about in- and out-linking relative to Brazilian (.br) domains.  She and her research group have found that .br domains RECEIVE far more links than they SEND.  They found that inlinks from generic TLDs (.com, .org, .net, .edu, etc.) At this point I wondered about the proportionality of the numbers of links…  because the generic TLDs represent such a large number of DNS entries generally.  Apparently this sort of data aren’t too hard to get, so it’s something that they will be able to look at.

Session: Bloggers & Blogging October 18, 2007

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This session featured two papers about blogging and two that were more about Internet research more generally. Presenters were Mary-Helen Ward on PhD blogging in Australia, Maria Bakardjieva and Georgia Gaden on blogs as a technology of the self, Denise Rall on how people become Internet researchers and Ulla Bunz on what AoIR conference paper titles tell us about Internet research.

(more…)

Blogging AoIR 8.0 October 17, 2007

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Well, I’m here in Vancouver, and will be blogging the conference. We’re just wrapping up the Doctoral Colloquium, which was quite productive from my perspective – in a group of VERY diverse projects we found a lot of commonalities. I’ll have much more detailed comments about my group later but the one thing that we all had in common was an overwhelming amount of data to deal with and our mentors (Ron Rice from UCSB and Lori Kendall from UIUC) were great about suggesting ways for each of us to focus our work and not get overwhelmed.

This also prompted some interesting discussions oer lunch about whether or not the Internet ALLOWS us to accumulate a much more overwhelming quantity of data than offline ethnography would. And then we moved on to talking about whether or not we’d rather be beaten by a billy club or tazed (there was a guy who died after being tazed at the Vancouver airport the other day), so it’s all good.

And here’s what the mentors have to say about us as a group:

  1. We need to be able to articulate our contribution to knowledge.
  2. We need to be able to articulate who our audience is.
  3. We have to know what our research question is! This lets you narrow & focus the topic (yeah, that was my group right there… apparently we weren’t the only ones).
  4. Methods: which methods are appropriate? This can be paradigmatic, but it also has to be appropriate to what you want to know. Method literacy is important.
  5. We have theory anxiety. A process of adaptation, creativity, etc. Don’t confound the new phenomenon with what you may or may not know.

The dissertation is something we mobilize support for… it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. Be willing to turn all those brilliant ideas that we have into our “future directions” section – that way it’s said and it’s out there but you don’t get pulled in a million different directions.