Free Cooperation

I seem to have inadvertently become involved in planning for several academic gatherings: the panels on blogs for the Internet Research conference, which I am looking forward to both with anticipation and some trepidation; a small conference on the Buffalo campus on scholarly communication, “Publishing the Future,” which I will have more to say about once the web site is up; and more recently I have been trying to help Trebor Scholtz with a conference on Social Network Architectures: Collaborative Models for Cultural Resistance.

Topically, this is an area I am particularly interested in, and it will be good to see a new crowd who is working in this area. It seemed to me that there is a business crowd who sees (to vastly oversimplify) social software as the “next new thing,” and there is an academic crowd (more oversimplification) who sees online social networks as an extraordinary new venue in which to do work that is qualitatively similar to work in social networks that has been happening for three decades (and arguably much, much longer). There’s also a crowd from computer science that I have had only marginal interaction with. But I was relatively unaware of many of those artists and critics who have already committed to this conference. Some of them were familiar via nettime-l, but since my circles tend to intersect little with the humanistic, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to interact with a crowd that, at least from what I’ve seen so far, is really pushing the edge of what social interaction means.

Trebor is very optimistic about the direction of the conference, and that optimism is contagious, though my natural pessimism (funding sources? time for coordination?) tends to rear its head often.

In addition to the conferences I’ve already committed to (AIR, HICSS, etc.), I just received word that I will be speaking at a conference entitled “Media Diversity: Meaning, Metrics and the Public Interest” about some of the work I have been doing on presidential election coverage. In some ways, since this is disconnected from much of my other research, I am especially excited about it. So much for my plan to avoid conferences this year! At least I have committed to not going to ICA this year.

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