Research for Breakfast

When I woke up this morning the first thing out of my mouth was, “All I want to do today is watch the Theorizing the Web (TtW) conference and populate my Endnote library.”

I’m not sharing this to illustrate my obsession with going back to school (please tell me people still use Endnote – is there a different, newer software that’s replaced it?), but to highlight how happy I am that TtW is livestreaming its presentations all day. When I learned about the conference over Twitter (gee, so professionally useful), I actually Googlemapsed it and considered driving the 20 hours to and from the University of Maryland but eventually concluded that it just wasn’t rational for me to do so. However, with the miracle of technology, I was able to catch the “Logging off and Disconnection” session while enjoying my breakfast bagel. It was excellent – new, fresh, awesome research exactly in the field of Internet research that most enthralls me (the bagel wasn’t bad either).

Probably under the influence of Shelly Turkle’s recent TED Talk, I can admit that following the conference hash tags and taking in the livestream can’t entirely replace the in-person experience of being there. I mean, I’ve been waiting to unleash some of my less-academic, dorkier thoughts, such as “Have you guys noticed the increase of references to social media in pop songs? It’s really funny, but WHAT DOES IT MEAN?” Yes, I’m channeling a bit of Double Rainbow there. That’s the sort of stuff I’d never clutter up the Twitter feed with, just in case it’s completely and laughably naive – these people are obviously beyond analyzing Pitbull lyrics (disclaimer: I have no proof that Pitbull mentions Facebook in his songs, but I thought I heard it…). Though these are the things that also make for fun chats over lunch.

Regardless, it’s great to have access to an Internet-focused conference with hopes that one day I will be able to attend such events in person. Until then, I’m glad that TtW is helping to set the standard for sharing research instead of locking it down with copyrights and crazy fees.


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