Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Internet Researchers take Gothenburg by storm (literally)

Last week was an eventful one, when the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) descended upon Gothenburg, Sweden for their annual meeting (October 21-23rd), affectionately known as #ir11 on Twitter.
My experiences of the city, unfortunately, seemed to occupy the rainy blustery times (after the conference let out each evening) whereas those who managed to explore during the day got a sunny version. This picture (above) shows the battle between dark and light being fought out in anticipation of my session letting out.
The conference sessions took place at Chalmers University of Technology, and was well-documented via the Twitter/Facebook channels, as well as blogs. Staying true to the "Internet Research" and "Green" aspect, pen and paper was a rarity!
Mathias Klang's blog documents most of the sessions I attended (including my own!), and does a good recap. The usual suspects, along with a good showing from the local Scandinavian populous, made for a classy yet casual affair :)
What I continue to appreciate about AoIR is the interdisciplinary nature of the conference and panels at large. Of course, the question of whether or not to split into Special Interest Groups came up at various points and the AGM, but really, experience leads me to believe that we can handle our special interests the rest of the year and that conferences are a great time to come together and cross-pollinate and find new compatible research partnerships as well.
People were mentioning that some of the most intellectually stimulating points of the conference came from when they just serendipitously walked into a session.
Speaking of which, there are always unexpected things that occur, such as keynotes not being able to show up, or suddenly finding yourself doing one because a whole other panel did not show up (just say), or some people in your audience trying to get everyone to sing you happy birthday after your presentation (for example:). Thanks, Jeremy!
Again, what I really enjoy about AoIR is how we manage to organize, grow, yet keep it real and messy (as we know the world to be) and how it always seems like a family reunion. Only, this family does interesting research on the Internet.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Delft life and Gothenburg in a week

So far, so good. It's been an eventful three weeks and promises only to get busier with the research end of things.

The month began with me (finally) checking out of my hotel, and heading to the university to do my lecture. The staff here have access to faculty bicycles that can be checked out for the day to get around the expansive campus. The lecture room happened to indeed be on the other side of campus and I only half-regret that my rocky attempt to take off on a bicycle too big for me, with a laptop strapped to my back was not documented. Perhaps for the best that only a few Dutch students witnessed this ;) I managed to eventually get going on it (don't ask) and it does get the heart going before lecture!

The students in the cross-cultural management course are a sharp bunch and we had a lively discussion afterwards about game addiction and what it means from a policy standpoint. I enjoy this group quite a bit, and have in subsequent weeks gotten into a mentorship role, providing feedback on their final projects, etc.

Home life: I'm living in a convenient apartment in the heart of Delft. It's a beautiful building built in 1899 and designed by architect Versteeg. Yes, I live in a tourist attraction. So I'm not adopting the traditional Dutch manner of leaving my curtains open, especially while tourists may be inclined take pictures that include my mundane activities!

While wrangling the predictable intricacies of doing research at the university, figuring out home life has been interesting. Little things, like how paper recycling is on Tuesdays and paper piles are left out in seemingly random spots with no designated bins (at least where I am). And then general garbage is out on Wednesdays, again with the little piles. Plastics get included in the general garbage, while glass and metal are a little ways off with bins at city hall and/or the supermarket. And so on, and so on. Figuring out the idiosyncrasies of the trains and how credit cards in general are viewed with suspicion (and not accepted in many places!) has also been an adventure of sorts.

Distances have also gotten closer, with the recent acquisition of a bicycle. After riding on the rack of yet another kind friend, I decided that enough was enough and in a way, a bicycle here is participation in society. It reminded me of how opting into games was a similar ticket to social life in other cultures! Bikes. Games. Hmm.

One week to AoIR in Sweden. I'm presenting the afternoon of my birthday, if you care to take a look at the program it's here>>

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