Conferencegoing 101

x-posted from Dr. Mabuse's Kaleido-scope

Even acknowledging the brute reality that conferencegoing may down this year in our field, at least for junior and apprentice scholars in North America, I thought I'd pass down this list of tips on "how to enjoy a convention." (note: pdf version, scroll to p. 16) It's written by a sociologist, Dan Ryan, himself an intermittant blogger, and some of his more discipline-specific advice might not apply to our field. And SCMS is still not up to MLA/ASA dimensions, though it's getting there. But there's plenty worth reading. Some highlights:
  • Don’t get too turned off by name tag gazing. It is what people do at these things. Yes, people will check yours out, discover that you are nobody and then move on. Some of the folks are real bozos looking for famous people to kiss up to. Don’t sweat it. Don’t let the turkeys get you down.
  • Remember that almost everyone else is feeling like they don’t know anyone too.
  • Recognize and celebrate the fact that the most important and enjoyable pert of the annual meeting is that stuff that occurs OUTSIDE of the sessions.
  • If you’re giving a talk, just tell us what you did, why you thought it was interesting and what we should remember about what you found put or showed. The point of the talk is to help me decide whether I might want to read your work or not.
  • Remember, you are going to spend a few days with 3 or 4 thousand people who are, perhaps, better at analyzing the social world than participating in it. Be kind. We’re all in this together.
There's more in the full article. Tips like these may be useful to those just starting to get their feet wet in the conferencegoing waters. And like many introductory primers, they can be fun and useful fodder for more those with more experience, as well.


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