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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