AoIR8 Day1: Thursday morning: Academics, blogs, and blogging

So, I’m at the Association of Internet Researchers conference up in Vancouver this week. There was a kick-off reception co-hosted by UW’s Communication Dept. and Information School. But I forgot to take photos of that. I met a ton of people, though. I’ll post a follow-up at the end of the conference about all the folks I’ve met.

For now, here’s my bed. (Also the photos from this set are mostly blurry… πŸ™ Aaron, hurry up and release a tool for consumers to unblur photos.)


Anyway, this is the first entry in my semi-live coverage. Most likely, I’ll be posting a few hours after the fact instead of live. This is mostly so I won’t lose anything if I run out of battery power in the middle of a session. The process I use right now is that I type something up using a separate text editor and then copy and paste to here. Photos will be uploaded when I get back to the hotel room.


The first session I went to was at 8:30am Thursday morning. (My breakfast was really, really awful. I took a photo of it. πŸ˜› ) My comments are in [brackets]. This is more or less a dump of my notes and not annotated or prettified yet. I’ll prob do that on Sunday.

1. Blogging PhD process: Foregrouding the pedagogy – Mary-Helen Ward
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PhD in Australia is assessed on thesis only; no classwork, no oral defense, etc.
Not much has been done to look at pedagogy during the process.
Autonomous scholar, peer, co-production with supervisor.
Blogging can be a tangible record of ‘becoming’ and also be part of the journey.

[Couldn’t this be done through reflection papers? Or is the fact that it is public important? Important for *other* PhD students maybe…?] Answer: Not necessarily public, but conversation is important. Blog is your place. Allows PhD students to practice taking ownership of their ideas.

2. Blogging as a technology of the self – Maria Bakardjieva and Georgia Gaden
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bloggers in Calgary – focus groups
theoretical lens with Foucault 1988
Technologies of self throughout history

  • Greece (Socrates)
  • Rome (Stoics)
  • Early Christians (hairshirts!)
  • Monastic tradition (confession)
  • Reformation (Puritans-journaling)
  • Reformation Influence (Hamlet-God-centered to man-centered)
  • Enlightenment (Rousseau)
  • Modernity (Freud)
  • Late Modernity
  • Foucault (deconstruction)
  • Giddens (reflexivity)
  • Beck (individualism)
  • neoliberalism
  • extreme atomization of individuals
  • self-biography managing

[This is like Gee’s shapeshifting portfolios… but how much is it the sole provenence of the middle-class?
Is it an educator’s job to enable working class students to become portfolio shapeshifters? Enable them to manage their own biographies?]

Blogging is a meso-discourse. Between micro and macro.

[write a reflection on blogging–content, omissions, who for?]

Lots of types of identities through blogging follows. One note, under political actors, the act of writing about position was impetus to be more informed and active. Under transformations, people assume new identities through blogging.

3. Fields of play: Internet scholarship as ‘playing around’ with the Internet – Denise Rall
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Laura Richardson: academic research can become a personal adventure vs. scholarly publishing stuff.
Denise used 4 people and examined how they navigated their Internet scholarship and categorized them as:

  • professional – moved into new media seemlessly, still wanted to play around with stuff
  • peripatetic – the journey matters, let his interests move his scholarship
  • research-based – commitment, radio to Internet radio, empowerment for marginalized groups
  • immersed – thought something would be in the code level which drove how people use technology (eg, rss vs. html), imaginative reconfiguration

Diane Ackerman: play is our brain’s way of learning (paraphrased)

4. Meta AoIR: Defining Internet research through an analysis of AoIR conference presentation titles – Ulla Bunz
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Ulla debriefed some of the findings of a study about the various presentations at AoIR. Take-away message: Internet researchers should start to be more specific about their paper topics and not use “Internet” so much. πŸ˜›

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