At Conference’s End


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.


  1. Yes, when they asked us to keep people updated – that felt, well, absurd. If there had been a accessible wireless connection they would have had loads of resourceful writers reporting on EVERYTHING, and constantly. But the one time I did use a computer it almost worked though. It was only the mouse that was broken, the password worked and the speed was good. Now if I had just been able to point and click, I’d have been all happy!

  2. I have to say that reading posts on my paper last year was nice; echoing through the audience. Bummer they didn’t have the infrastructure this year, though I wish I could’ve gone nonetheless. Sounds like a lot of the euro-bloggers were there.

  3. Lots of euro-bloggers, indeed! I even got invited to be an honorary Scandinavian blogger for an evening, which was fabulous. But the technical absurdities, as Torill points out, were a bit much. There was no wi-fi, but there was a lab, and there was access in the residences; but no one was able to get the access in the residences to work (and don’t get me started on the evils of their out-sourced phone service, with its required, proprietary, and crazily expensive calling cards). So there was the lab; but the logins and passwords they’d put together for the lab didn’t work, so we all had to use the one login that did work. Except that there was a ceiling on the number of users who could be logged in under that one login at any one time. And many of the machines didn’t work. Or the mice. It was one of those if-it’s-not-one-thing, it’s-another situations that just became ridiculous after a point. I’ve spent every available moment online since leaving Brighton, just to get my jonesing back under control…

  4. I wasn’t fomerly introduced to you – and I missed some of the blogger gathering (because of the wonderful internet connection we had – oh wait we didn’t have any)….but it was good to be in the same room with you 🙂 and I finally got to meet some of the Euro-bloggers – Jill, Lilia, and Torill F2F….

  5. KF, I think they make patches for that sort of thing now. Keep that jonesing under wraps.

    Too bad about the computer situation. At least the company was good.

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