Filed under: Internetwork Ecology
Hello old blog friends, if you are still out there with me in your rss reader or your blogroll! (is the word blogroll an anachronism yet?). And hello to new friends if you should womble on past.
It has been quite some time since I last posted here. Over a year! That’s a fair stretch, particularly in terms of the chronoscopic distortion of internet time. A lot has happened in that interval. In 2008 I did more teaching than I have ever done previously. That included some work for the Gold Coast arm of the QLD Conservatorium in Semester 1, as well as taking on a fair bit of work in the Creative Industries faculty at the QLD University of Technology in both semesters; and that is without mentioning my ongoing teaching commitments in the newly renamed School of Humanities @ Griffith University, as well as the OUA distance courses that I am involved with. Semester 2 at QUT was good, but the students there seem to be more … I don’t know, critical of the work that we do. A tough audience. I take it onboard, even if it is at times quite harsh. And that’s not being precious. I would never have been so rude as some of the students are to staff there.
Summer School was also really good, possibly the best group of students I’ve had since I started teaching in the summer mode in 2006. I like that group because I can try out new ideas and new themes, and the students were very responsive. That is rewarding in-and-of itself but teaching is also very time consuming. And it is an activity that can be more draining on your mental resources than you would think. Those of you who do that kind of labour will know what I am talking about.
As well as teaching, the “social media” scene in SE QLD seems to have blossomed rapidly which I am glad to have witnessed and contributed to in my own small way. The barcamps have successfully kicked off @ the gold coast, the social media club has branched out into Australia in the form of Brisbane and Gold Coast chapters, and possibly other states also. Add to this the sudden mainstream interest in not only social networking sites like myspace and facebook but also Twitter. It’s neat that my personal and professional networks of people – that once seemed to be quite distinct and different from each other – have all blended together into this strange social media space.
One of the strange offshoots from the current twitter phase is advent of people who are self-proclaimed “Social Media Experts”. The conversations I’ve had with some of these PR people at the SMC events are curious to me as someone who has been a user but also studied the internet in academic ways for about a decade. While I don’t claim to be a bleeding edge pioneer I have witnessed the precursors to a lot of these media, so having business people try to sell the internet to me as an the ultimate democratising force is somewhat surreal (and full of dot.bomb rhetoric). As a budding media ecologist (and internetwork ecologist) I also have some other … let’s sa,y critiques… of some of these social media ideas which I am still thinking about; they may make an appearance at the 2009 ANZCA conference.
I also find it strange that people randomly add you on indenti.ca / twitter if you trigger one of their keyword matches. Social media seems to be the honey that attracts the PR/marketing flies. Also people wanting to be your friend who have private updates? Can’t tell if I want to be your friend, dudes. I suppose you add and then delete if it’s no good?
I guess what I am trying to convey here is that these things are expanding around me while I have been talking to a lot of students about these ideas. There has been some talk in my school of book proposals and some other related projects which I do not want to jinx.
Things are certainly moving and shaking at all the institutions where I am employed. The class I usually co-convene in first semester at the gold coast has been moved to sem 2 – and it is in need of a spring-cleaning. Add that to the To-Do list. The fact that the class is not running in Feb has given me a reprieve. So continuing that theme, I have not taken on any face-to-face teaching. Perhaps only one online class to get a bit of cash flow. This leaves more time to join the ranks of some of my friends who have completed their dissertations since the end of 2008. Most alarming on some level is a student who was once in an undergrad course of mine who just handed his PhD in. Must overcome the intellectual lag. Must stop hanging out on the internet so much.
So the media we’re using are also moving and changing and it is still difficult to keep track of the trends and possibilities. I came across a former student of mine on twitter, who at this time last year was the only person out of 50 students who was a twitter user. None of the other students seemed fussed by the whole microblogging phenomenon.
As a FaceBook “friend” of mine put it “OMG We should all go to twitter because it’s like status updates and that’s it …how easy!”.
So I don’t know if I will take more time to blog here from now on. I don’t know if anyone even keeps an eye out for my posts here anymore after such a long hiatus from the academic blogosphere. I’m not sure. My blogging continues to remain of the more private journaling nature, and my academic blurtings seem to be focused more @ del.icio.us, facebook and indentica/twitter.
We’ll see how things go. I am optimistic that 2009 will be a good year for communities to shine, even if the economy is taking a slide.