Why I Haven’t Been Blogging This Week


Back next week!

Canadian TV Alert

If you’re in Canada (or close enough to get Canadian TV reception), I’ll be participating in a panel discussion on The Agenda tonight about socializing online. Episode description: “How do we socialize online … and how does being online changes the way we socialize?” Presumably there will be a video podcast to follow. I’ll post that link when it’s up. The Agenda airs at 8 PM on TVO.

Video is now up – click March 4 link on the left. You can also download it as an audio or video podcast from iTunes. Very good 45 minute discussion.

What Makes Me Feel Icky

I’ve spent a lot of time advocating for the idea that fans are not insane — that we are perfectly sensible people who are generally quite capable of recognizing the differences between, say, characters and actors, or rock star personae and the people who wear those masks.

So it troubles me no end when people try to post comments on this blog that confuse the fact that I have written ABOUT someone with the illusion that the someone about whom I have written is either behind this blog or likely to be reading it.

This happens a lot with … I fear to use their names lest they generate even more misguided search hits than they already do, so I’ll just say… a really big British pop star whose fan site manager I interviewed and a youtube teenage sensation who’s happy to take credit for having gained his success online.

It makes me wonder what is going on … are these people totally internet illiterate and really don’t understand that a comment on my blog will never ever be read by the person to whom they’re addressing it? Or are they just throwing comments up everywhere figuring eventually he’s going to see one somewhere? Messing with me? Just not paying attention? Or what?

I just don’t get it.

Actually, now that I think about it, it also happened when I wrote about that really beloved racehorse whose name I won’t use but whose fan community became an activist community following his death. I got all kinds of creepy comments submitted on that one, as though the horse’s trainer were reading the comments, in which case I’d have hoped he was standing by with his lawyers cuz that was some ugly stuff they were trying to do through me.

Strangely, it never happens when I write about people (or animals) who aren’t really famous. Guess it’s some sort of natural law — the more fans you get, the more likely you are to get some who can’t tell comment@onlinefandom.com from YourFavoriteStar@Personal.TopSecret.EmailAddress.com

It makes me want to institute universal internet literacy education in grade schools throughout the world. Because if they’re confused about that, what else are they confused about?

Any other bloggers want to tell weird-comments-i-delete-that-aren’t-spam stories?

Social Computing Summit

Update: Unfortunately, this summit has been postponed until October. Whether I’ll be there then or not remains to be seen.


I’m superpsyched to be giving a keynote address about … imagine this … online fans and community at the ASIS&T Social Computing Summit in Miami this April. That is American Society for Information Science & Technology. Fred Stutzman and the other organizers have been building a great set of speakers, and I’m eager to hear what they have to say and to meet the ones I don’t already know. There’s also a poster session with a February 25th deadline (see below) so get those abstracts polished if you’re looking for a interesting place to display your work:

ASIS&T Social Computing Summit
April 10-11, 2008
Hyatt Regency, Miami, Fl

About the Summit

The First Annual ASIS&T Social Computing Summit will bring together researchers and practitioners of social computing for two days of discussion and exploration in Miami, Florida. The event will directly precede the 2008 Information Architecture Summit, providing attendees a complimentary opportunity to learn about and discuss emergent areas of social computing and software. The Social Computing Summit will feature a keynote addresses from Dr. Nancy Baym, Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas, and Thomas Vander Wal, principal consultant at InfoCloud Solutions.

Social software and computing drives Web 2.0 technology, enabling global connections and providing rich social experiences. Social networking services challenge established notions of privacy, identity and relationship management. Beyond the browser, mobile devices promise new forms of ubiquitous connectivity and presence, offering unprecedented research and business opportunities. To understand the successful applications of tomorrow, we come together today to share research and insight. This summit aims to bring together thought leaders, developers, and scholars working in this rapidly changing area, facilitating the conversations required for tomorrow’s innovations.

Complementing the keynote addresses will be panels exploring the following topical areas: Social networking services, data portability/open social networks, mobile services, social computing and politics, global voices, social computing and the enterprise, and youth social computing. The summit will feature interactive sessions, as well as a poster session for sharing information about services and recent research. In bringing together a blend of experts from different disciplines, as well as enabling conversation, the ASIS&T Social Computing Summit offers something for everyone interested in this fascinating, fast-changing space.

Preliminary Speaker Lineup

Nancy Baym, University of Kansas
Thomas Vander Wal
, InfoCloud Solutions
Nicole Ellison, Michigan State University
Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Blue State Digital
Alex Hunsucker, Eventful.com
Jevon MacDonald, SocialWrite.com
Mary Madden, Pew Internet and American Life Project
Robin Miller, Slashdot
Brian Oberkirch
Micah Sifry, Personal Democracy Forum
Ramesh Srinivansan, UCLA
Fred Stutzman, UNC-Chapel Hill
Sarita Yardi, Georgia Tech

Many more speakers to be announced as they confirm!

Call For Posters

The program committee invites submission of posters to be showcased at the 2008 ASIS&T Social Computing Summit. To be considered, authors should submit a 500-800 word poster abstract by Monday, February 25, 2008. Notification will be made on a rolling basis, with final notifications by Monday, March 11, 2008. Send submissions in PDF, DOC or TXT format to socialcomputing2008@gmail.com.

New Fandom Journal!

Allow me enthusiastically share this announcement of a new journal with a focus on fandom. I am on the journal’s advisory committee, and am very excited about this journal’s potential to bring together people with interests in fan activity:

*New Journal Announcement/CFP*

Transformative Works and Cultures
(TWC) is a Gold Open Access international peer-reviewed journal published by the Organization for Transformative Works edited by Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson.

TWC publishes articles about popular media, fan communities, and transformative works, broadly conceived. We invite papers on all related topics, including but not limited to fan fiction, fan vids, mashups, machinima, film, TV, anime, comic books, video games, and any and all aspects of the communities of practice that surround them. TWC’s aim is twofold: to provide a publishing outlet that welcomes fan-related topics, and to promote dialogue between the academic community and the fan community.

We encourage innovative works that situate these topics within contemporary culture via a variety of critical approaches, including but not limited to feminism, queer theory, critical race studies, political economy, ethnography, reception theory, literary criticism, film studies, and media studies. We also encourage authors to consider writing personal essays integrated with scholarship, hypertext articles, or other forms that embrace the technical possibilities of the Web and test the limits of the genre of academic writing. TWC copyrights under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

*Theory* accepts blind peer-reviewed essays that are often interdisciplinary, with a conceptual focus and a theoretical frame that offers expansive interventions in the field of fan studies (5,000-8,000 words).

*Praxis* analyzes the particular, in contrast to Theory‚s broader vantage. Essays are blind peer reviewed and may apply a specific theory to a formation or artifact; explicate fan practice; perform a detailed reading of a specific text; or otherwise relate transformative phenomena to social, literary, technological, and/or historical frameworks (4,000-7,000 words).

*Symposium* is a section of editorially reviewed concise, thematically contained short essays that provide insight into current developments and debates surrounding any topic related to fandom or transformative media and cultures (1,500-2,500 words).

*Reviews* offer critical summaries of items of interest in the fields of fan and media studies, including books, new journals, and Web sites. Reviews incorporate a description of the item’s content, an assessment of its likely audience, and an evaluation of its importance in a larger context (1,500-2,500 words). Review submissions undergo editorial review; submit inquiries first to review@transformativeworks.org.

TWC has rolling submissions. Contributors should submit online through the Web site. Inquiries may be sent to the editors (editor@transformativeworks.org).

The call for papers is available as a .pdf download sized for U.S. Letter or European A4. Please feel free to link, download, print, distribute, or post.