taking things to the next level

March 13, 2010

Well, I’m back, I suppose. I had to take a brief un-official hiatus (if there can even be official hiatus’ on blogs…I don’t know) to get some work done on other projects. But worry not – these projects were still in line with my investigations into the blogosphere, though not so much into social media/networks as is on here.

As part of my job as a graduate assistant, I’ve been working on a research paper, looking at how commenting operates in blogs. Specifically, I’ve been studying whether comments can operate as a form of public sphere radicalization in the online public sphere, and how normative forces work to develop or hinder the discourses in the comment threads leading to the development of an online radicalized public sphere. It all sounds very technical and academic (at least that’s what my boyfriend tells me before he goes into smile-and-nod mode) but really it’s just an investigation into how people are talking with each other online, what good this talk might bring about, and what can be done to bring about this stuff from this talk faster (possibly oversimplified here, but that’s about it).

So, as part of developing and writing this research paper, I went to the AEJMC mid-winter conference to present my ideas thus far, and get feedback on what I’ve been working on. I also presented a paper I wrote for my women and minorities in the media class, on Gay blogs and the discourse occurring in the comment threads there, with specific interest in how counter-publics are developing out of minority discourses. All in all, it was a pretty good time, and I got a lot of good feedback out of it, which should help me prepare for submitting and/or presenting at the national AEJMC conference this summer.

Naturally, the trip out to the conference was fun as well. A friend from the WVU J-School, who was also presenting, and I road-tripped it out to Oklahoma City, an 18 hour drive from Morgantown. I’ve had my share of cross-country driving from my move out to Morgantown from Seattle, but I have to admit, it’s much more fun over shorter distances, and in parts of the country that are as-yet unknown. Stops along the way included St. Louis and Indianapolis, which are both lovely cities that I hope to visit again some day soon.

But anyway, getting back on track, now that the conference is over, I should have more time to devote to scouring the internet searching for new fodder for this blog site. I’ll be heading out to PAX in a couple of weeks, and hope to get lots of good info from some of the presentations there, especially the one concerning journalists versus game designers. The PAX weekend will also include a stop in New York City (another place I’ve never been) and possibly New Hampshire and Maine. Very exiting.

So, to conclude – there’ll be more to come soon. In the meantime, check out my group blog for more shenanigans from the Interactive Journalism class.


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