Buzz Factor

I have an ambivalent relationship with buzzwords and buzzphrases. I find them dangerous, especially when they contribute to groupthink, but I also like to play with them. Whether I try (perhaps clumsily) to create some or I find one to be useful in encapsulating insight.

The reason I’m thinking about this is that I participated in the PodCamp Montreal UnConference, giving a buzzphrase-laden presentation on social media and academia (or “social acamedia,” as I later called it).

[slideshare id=609833&doc=socialacamedia-1221997312636223-9&w=425]

I’ll surely revisit a number of notes I’ve taken (mostly through Twitter) during the unconference. But I thought I’d post something as a placeholder.

Some buzzphrases/-words I’ve been known to use should serve as the bases for explanations about a few things I’ve been rambling about the past few years.

Here are a few (some of which I’ve tried to coin):

Not that all of these paint a clear picture of what I’ve been thinking about. But they’re all part of a bigger framework through which I observe and participate in Geek Culture. One day, I might do a formal/academic ethnography of the Geek Crowd.

7 thoughts on “Buzz Factor”

  1. @OW I’ll probably do a kind of timeline with my Fabian tweets. My comments on Max’s post probably tell you more about my impression of the content of the talk but I think my tweets represent something. They might be useful for me in the future.
    But, otherwise, I’ve been pretty busy. Apart from the Fabian lecture and a party last night, I’ve had a teaching workshop this morning, a dinner tonight, my course tomorrow, and I want to edit the soundfile from my PodCamp presentation for pauses, hesitations, and verbal tics. I’ll then post it as a slidecast and try to get some feedback from some people.

  2. Alex, I was also wondering if you wanted to share your views on what makes something an “anthropology blog”. I have been calling your blog an anthropology blog, even a Concordia anthropology blog (as I did with my own, as much as it is potentially a serious mistake to link it with an institutional identity that might want to eschew any connections to a given blog). Yet, the contents of your blog hardly seem to be the stereotypical anthropology ones. How do you identify your own blog?

  3. @Max Part of the answer is now in a reply to Owen’s post about “culture.” Simply put: this, here, my main blog isn’t really an anthroblog. But I do consider myself an anthroblogger.
    As for the Concordia connection, my main issue has to do with my official status. I’m currently part-time faculty at ConU but there’s no guarantee I’ll be associated with ConU for long. I’ve been on record saying how much I like Concordia, but I’ve taught at seven other places and started blogging at IUSB.
    At the same time, I don’t worry too much about any of this. As long as nobody yells at me for not distancing myself from ConU enough (“you accepted the label as a Concordia anthroblogger which made it sound that you belonged here”), I really don’t mind.
    What I tend to discuss is the rapport Owen and you have established. I’m a third wheel in this relationship, especially given the status I have at ConU.
    Owen did take one of my courses a few years ago but I now mostly think of him as a friend. We may talk about Concordia (say, about the Facebook block), but it’s not like I’m acting in any official ConU capacity, in his work. I’ve also acted as an anthroblogger informant for him, and that seems to make sense.
    As you might remember, I’ve been talking about “Owen and Max doing a lot to raise exposure to the department.” I do think something is happening there and I find it very interesting. I even see myself as somehow related to the both of you. At the same time, I can’t claim we’re an anthroblogging trio since the both of you are blogging much more anthro than I am.
    BTW, a friend of mine (Ph.D. student at UdeM with a Manchester doctorate) asked me about ways to participate in the conversation. She saw Owen’s post about Fabian and got intrigued. Maybe she could join you in anthsoc? Although, it might not be an excellent idea to reproduce the SavageMinds structure too much. 😉

  4. Thanks Alex. Sorry about that, I had missed your reply on Owen’s blog until a few moments ago when I finished reading it.

    I just wanted to mention that the anthsoc blog has been eliminated, and to be honest I am not clear as to the reasons why.

    Thanks very much for the comments above, but rest assured, neither Owen nor myself would ever think of you as a mere “third wheel.”

  5. @Max No worries about not noticing my post on Owen’s blog. I was posting it pretty much at the same time as you were posting yours here. Seems like we’ve all been thinking about similar issues, which is fun.
    Too bad about the anthsoc blog. I noticed it was down but I assumed that was temporary. Still, it might be fun to have another collaborative anthroblog, besides SavageMinds. It’s not like a “competitive landscape” but it can be about multiple voices. OTOH, I might simply find ways to get other people blogging. Alexandrine Fournier (the Manchester grad) seemed intrigued, thanks to Owen’s Fabian post. I may simply show her how to start her own blog.
    One issue with my previous attempts at collaborative blogging is that I have either been the sole regular poster or the whole blog hasn’t ever been very active. Maybe what’s needed is a “clustering effect” to get a tighter structure (if everyone knows everybody else, it might be easier to keep the ball rolling).
    As for my secondary status, I don’t say this as a self-deprecating comment (though I do tend to enjoy making such comments). It’s more about the precarity of my ConU status and the fact that you two are more alike in terms of anthroblogging than I am to either of you. (At the same time, some ConU students have confused us, you and I, so it’s even funnier!)

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