Sunday, October 21, 2007

AOIR Wrap Up

I attended two panels during the final afternoon of AOIR. The first was on research methods for studying blogs. This can be challenging at every stop, as you consider which blogs to study, which posts, and how you will study them (content analysis, survey bloggers, ethnography, participant ethnography). I got some good ideas. Social networks provide new challenges, as in many cases (like Facebook), you have to be-friend someone before you can see their profile info. Gaining that access can be difficult and can also affect the research process.

Patricia Lange (pictured) of USC made an interesting presentation about her experiences studying video bloggers. Some of the issues regarding anonymity of subjects are questioned, because these are people whose work is already out there. They are visually represented. There are challenges associated with putting so much in the public (threats, flames, etc.).

The last panel I attended was on gender and technology issues. I got some good ideas about how others are integrating gender topics into their study of blogs and social networks (identity, representation), as well as research on girl gamers, and women in IT professions. I really need to be re-focusing on this area, since I haven't done any gender research since I completed my dissertation.

So, this was a great conference. I met some interesting people, saw some great keynotes, and got some really good ideas for moving forward with my own research. The diversity of scholars here, across disciplines and nationalities provides for a rich and productive experience. Now, I have a day to try to enjoy Vancouver.

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