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OK, after the end of AoIR 2004 I'm back in Brighton now. I couldn't get access with my laptop at the University of Sussex at all for the last few days, so I'm now about to post my backlog of blog entries (my backblog?) from the last few days.

Brighton -> London -> Brisbane

Some Final Weirdness: University of Sussex Men's Rooms, Complete with Crest and Motto "Be Still and Know". What the?Phew. So that was AoIR 2004. It's a pity that conferences like these always end a little anticlimactically - with people leaving at various times on Wednesday, there was little opportunity to say goodbye to anyone. Technological issues aside, this was a good conference with some excellent papers, and it's good to engage so closely with fellow Internet researchers. Especially the blogging stream has come a long way since 2003, and it's interesting how it has developed - last year in Toronto, quite a few people focussed on the Howard Dean campaign or the use of blogs as personal diaries, but this time around there was far more variety and depth. I would have loved to have seen many more of the papers in various other sessions I wasn't able to get to - looking forward to reading them when the conference archives go online.

Cyberactive Resistance?

The next (and last for this conference) session is about to begin, titled simply 'resistance?' Still a good turnout for the session even though people are now starting to leave the University of Sussex to catch their various planes. Andrew Ó Baoill starts this session with a study of MoveOn.org, a political group which started in 1998 around the Clinton impeachment campaign and enables participation in political action by members of the public.

Ubiquitous Online News, Framing the Net, and Webcasting

An Early Start...The last day of AoIR 2004 has dawned on us. I've had the bad luck to have been given the 8.30 a.m. timeslot for my own paper - standing in an empty theatre at the moment waiting for people to finish their breakfast and make their way here. The session I'm in - ostensibly on 'online news and journalism/Internet vs. traditional media' - contains a pretty eclectic bunch of papers, so we'll see how many will show up in the end… They have ten more minutes.

Blogs in Research and Teaching

And we're on to the last session of the day, which continues the blogging theme. I should probably note that not all papers at this conference are concerned with blogs - there are some eight or nine sessions running simultaneously here, themed around many other topics; as always, the topics I cover here are only the ones I was most interested in and do not necessarily represent the overall intellectual thrust of the conference accurately. (I'm sure the other bloggers here will present a very different version of AoIR 2004 in their blogs, even if admittedly many of them have also attended most of the blogging-related sessions…)

Back in Blog

Back after lunch now, and we're in the next session on blogs and related media forms. Karen Gustafson makes the start, speaking on blogs and the creation of community, especially on political blog sites. She has selected four high-ranking political blogs to study, including Instapundit and others. They have a range of ideological positions and are themselves influential amongst blogs. However, this is of course a very narrow subset of all blogs.

From Gaydar to Urban Mobilities

We've now moved on to the next keynote, by Nina Wakeford from INCITE at the University of Surrey; I saw her keynote at ISEA2004, of course, but I think this one is on a different topic. I also just ran in to fibreculture's own David Teh - good to see another familiar face!

Nina considers how we might think about ubiquity - through developments of ubicomp, and through analogous social and cultural activities; also, how might we intervene in already existing ubiquity work? A guiding example is the 'gaydar', a new technology for gay men to find one another through mobile devices. What exactly is it that ubiquitous computing promises, what technologies may it replace?

Virtual Research, Real Suburbs, Wireless Freedom, and DUU

On to the next session - I got here late because the session was moved, but the current paper by Michael Nentwich is about the virtualisation of research and academic exchange. He discusses first the suitability of email for academic communication. Asynchronicity, speed, the written character, and the permanence are mentioned as useful characteristics in this context.

Five functions of traditional academic seminars, workshops and conferences: they contribute to quality control, the transmission of knowledge, serving as a node in the scientific network, social management, and ideas generation. In a virtual setting, these might continue to exist: this is certainly true for quality control, but the transmission of knowledge or the placement of nodes in scientific networks might work better face-to-face. Social management could work, but not in the same way as it does in offline contexts, and the same might be true for ideas generation.

Blogs (and Beyond)

The View from My Room, Complete with CowsI'm starting to get a bit frustrated with my lack of connectivity here. Not only is there no wireless, but there's also no way to plug into the cable-based network; I ended up buying a phone card for £3 in order to be able to connect via dial-up, but that didn't work either… And to make matters worse, now my mobile is on the blink too, and locks up every time I try to do anything. Argh!

Internet Governance

A good discussion about blogging and the lack of wireless support over lunch; including some very good ideas for what to do better next time around. Lilia has now set up a site on TopicExchange to combine most of us AoIR bloggers, and I'll post more details about this as soon as I can actually post something… We've now moved on to the next session on Internet governance.

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