Internet Research 7.0 – Convergences

This week I have been attending Internet Research 7.0 – Internet Convergences in Brisbane. Primarily I’m here to present my paper on The Impact of Web 2.0 on Social Activism, but have run into a few nice folk and caught some interesting papers. I am just not a conference kind of guy – all that academic schmoozing leaves me a little cold. At a collection of pretty geeky academics, I have discovered that at least I am not alone in that!
The conference is broadly cross-disciplinary, which is both a strength and a weakness. On the positive side, the juxtaposition of highly technologically driven papers with sociological surveys, ethical remarks, and occasional theoretical treatments sends a strong message about the breadth of people studying these topics. On the negativs side, it is harder to gain anything of practical value from much of the work, and many of teh works lack an awareness of their own inherent disciplinarity or interdisciplinarity.
Having said that, there have been papers that do cut through the jumble of perspectives to resonate in interesting and often unexpected ways. Nancy Baym’s paper on The Internet in Advice Columns and Mat Wall-Smith’s observations on Metadata and Moving Bodies have been particularly appreciated.

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