Seminar on Self-Organizing Communities
I am headed off to this “international symposium on self-organizing online communities” so expect light posting for the next several days but a mind on fire upon my return.
I will be talking from a qualitative research perspective about the problem of trying to figure out where the heck the boundaries of a ‘community’ are anyway when they’re spread through so many parts of a site and so many different sites. I argue that qualitative researchers are supposed to problematize our areas of study and that there’s more to problematize in thinking about “online community” now than ever.
The talk is sort of a hybrid of thinking I’ve been doing about music fandom on Last.fm and the Swedish music fan scene on the internet and the conclusion of a book I am wrapping up the editing of with Annette Markham (tentatively titled Internet Inquiry, and due to be published by Sage Publications in 2008). The book puts together different scholars’ perspectives on challenging issues in conducting qualitative internet research and when it finally comes out, it’s going to be great. It’s got some wonderful contributors.
But in the coming days I mostly hope to be listening and learning from the stellar group of online community scholars they’ve assembled, some of whom I know and others whom I look forward to meeting. Among the participants are: Nosh Contractor, Peter Monge, Barry Wellman, Bob Kraut, Paul Resnick, and smart folks from Microsoft Research, Yahoo, and, of course, Cornell. Should be fun.