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Above is the loveliest conference room I spent any time in during my four days on the University of Sussex campus. It is also the scene of the previously mentioned conference crime. I don’t hold that against the room, though. Nor, particularly, against the conference. I met some fabulous folks, and heard some great papers, and generally had a grand time.

But I have to say, it wasn’t quite the same as last year’s fest (plus a slew of other links to be found in the archives). No small part of the rush of last year’s conference stemmed from its intensive blogging atmosphere: Liz and Jason and a slew of other folks were all there and posting, live, discussing papers both online and in the backchannel, and were generally super-involved in the goings-on.

This year, nada. I still took notes on the trusty PowerBook, and I was still invested in the papers that were presented, and there was a teeny bit of backchannel dialogue via iChat, but… it just wasn’t the same. Because there was effectively no blogging, no immediate online interaction to complement the ideas about online interaction being discussed. So I was left feeling a bit stranded, and disconnected, and significantly lacking the charge that I felt last go-round.

That said, there was a misery-loves-company aspect to things, which served to calm me at moments, like when an officer of the organization, in an announcements-period, urged us all to update everyone who couldn’t be at the conference, by, you know, sending messages to the listserv. And there was a kind of synchronicity among us blogging types, which was lovely to see. For instance, mere seconds after I took this picture, of the folks to my right —


— Jill sent me this one, of the folks to her left.


But all the same, it just wasn’t the same.

I’m in a hotel just outside Gatwick now, using the crazily expensive in-room broadband to get caught up on the world and my email before I fly out tomorrow. It’s been good, but it’ll be better to get home.

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