Like some kind of migratory animal, I’ve been spending the past month on other channels – mainly forums and twitter, though I occasionally surface on Livejournal. It seems deeply odd to have a collection of regular online ‘homes’ where I have lived for more than a decade. There’s some overlap between them, but each community has a different feel to it, as people present a different facet of their life.
I heard some Marketing/PR students complaining about job advertisements last week. “The community manager positions all want people with 4-5 years of experience! Who has that much experience in that role?” I thought about all the gaming communities that arose in the late 1990s, many of which are still going strong. Corporations may not have employed social media staff back then, but some of us have still been working in that area for a long time. I also remembered that the students may have only been born in the late 1990s, and decided to say nothing.
Online and off, I listen constantly and say little. It seems to be a pattern.
I’m going to have to start talking a little more in the next few months, though. I’ve been accepted into the Communities and Technologies doctoral consortium, which is fantastic and terrifying at the same time. It’s a great opportunity to get feedback about my project from some experienced researchers outside of my department. It’s also going to require me to publicly explore all the potential weak points in my research – something that I haven’t done on this scale before. With luck, I’ll have a much stronger project afterwards. I also wish I’d done it a year earlier.
Soon after that, I’ll be heading over to Barcelona for the International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media. It’s the first non-CRC event that I’ll be presenting at, and my first international conference. Barbara and I wrote about how small businesses are addressing issues of online trust and reputation using social media, drawing on four of the case studies in my project. There’s a lot to organise before I go, but it should be a good research community to tap into.