osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

Closing thoughts for Arisia

May do a more thorough con report after I get home. We'll see.

O.K., some random thoughts.

1) Heather Dale and her partner, Ben Deschamps, are AWESOME. Very nice people as well as very talented musicians.

2) Need to friend Mark Mandel. Also saw Doug Ayen (after several years) and need to friend him. Keep finding more friends who are on LJ. Funny, I do not think of myself as a person who has a lot of friends (I don't mean this in a bad way, I just mean that I've never felt myself a particularly social guy). Listing them out has been somewhat instructive.

3) Attended the presentation of an academic paper on LJ as a community of practice. Excellent and informative. I plan to suggest that next year Arisia have an academic track which is people presenting real papers and having a panel of real experts who act as respondents. One of my problems on a lot of SF Con panels is people seem to think it is enough to have an opinion on something and passing familiarity with it. Hearing from real experts is always a treat.

Side note: When I rose to ask a question, I lapsed into "conference mode" and began: "Harold Feld, Media Access Project. Do you believe that your paper effectively rebuts Putnam's "Bowling Alone" hypothesis, reiterated in "Better Together," that online communities are incapable of building social capital?"

4) Generally enjoyed the panels I was on. Friday night was "your own record label." We had a range from myself (Conglomeration publishes CD compilations with no intent to turn it into a real revenue stream) to Heather and Ben Deschamps (who make thier lving at it). Panel was rounded out by Spence and Robert Balder.

4a) Speaking of Robert Balder, I need to write a rebutal to "Rich Fantasy Lives." It's a pleasant song of the "I escape the awfulness that is Mundania by living in an alternate world." But I am a little tired of songs that celebrate the dysfunctionalness of the universe (and purported wonderfulness of fandom by contrast). It reminds me a little much of the "disconnected emotional cripple waif" music that seemed so popular in the 1990s. I know I am not the only one in fandom who has a satisfying job, a family, good relations with my parents, and interesting friends who aren't into F&SF. Right? Right?

4) Anyway, back to panels. The LJ as social medium panel was fun. I did find one or two folks who seem to think that "comments" are an important measure of popularity and also an important way to tell if you are widely read. This struck me on several levels.

a) if what you want is a bog the replicates publishing, then blogspot or other less community oriented tools may work better.

b) I am not convinced that comments is a useful measure of readership. According to the webstats on Wetmachine, my blog Tales of the Sausage had aprox 5500 unique visitors last month. But I had less than a 2 dozen comments.

c) Why do people care how many people read you or friend you? I want people to read my professional blog because I want them to understand media and telecom policy and start fighting for the things I believe in. I want my friends to read my LJ cause y'all are like, y'know, my friends. But if you're too busy, I understand. (I really get bugged by the few folks who seem to think that not staying current with their LJ means you don't care about them.)

d) As for the ones who do care, I sense they did not have popular high school experiences. Indeed, they struck me as being like those people who come to fandom thinking that now that they are in fandom, people should like them and they should suddenly have friends, because that is the myth we cultivate about ourselves. The same for the SCA. And, in fact, there are people who have difficulty with the social rules in society generally who thrive in fandom or the SCA because it is a smaller social scene with a commonality of interest and a high tolerance factor for learning the ropes and social screw ups (higher than society at large, I think). But there are still some who fail to thrive, beause their behaviors or dysfunctions do not mesh with our community.

e) So my advice to the folks who wanted more readers or comments was to quote Leslie Fish's "No Way to Get Laid." One of my favorite lines out of any song actually:

No one's gonna fill your bed
Just because you're you.
Nobody cares what you think or feel
Unless you give them a reason to!

4) Anyway, last "panel" was my thing on found filk, which was a combination of presentation and theme circle. Worked pretty well.

5) Nomi and Michael gave a very nice party for Nomi's birthday. A surprising number of folks showed up in black tie. I wish I'd been able to get mine into the suitcase. Unfortunately, news of Cindy's death kinda sucked the fun out of last night for me. I sang Fuel to Feed the Drive and raised a glass to her memory at the filk.

Lots of Ljers here, of course. Will not try to list you all but was very glad to see you. Many thanks to LadyMondegreen for giving Aaron the expanded version of the afghan she gave him when he was a baby. Aaron is looking forward to using it at home.

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