Non-Digital Researcher

My predominantly non-digital experience of yesterday’s Vitae Digital Researcher (my dodgy laptop plus erratic British Library wi-fi) was actually most enjoyable. And this is in no way a criticism of the event, which, similar to last year’s, managed to pull off the trick of engaging a large, multidisciplinary audience of doctoral students and trainers (well done to all concerned.)

In between the plenary sessions, the workshops and the keynote address from Aleks Krotoski, the programme provided several opportunities for discussion. I found myself in a lovely group of fellow academics who shared a healthy mix of enthusiasm and criticality in understanding their own social media practices. The organisers were particularly keen to encourage Twitter networking and amplification and collaborative meaning making through Google Docs. But for me, it was a useful reminder that sometimes the best conversations happen when we put down our mobile devices and close our laptops.

Tags: ,

6 Responses to “Non-Digital Researcher”

  1. Cristina Costa Says:

    That is actually quite an interesting comment…

    I do take your point. I actually think that if we are face to face then the discussion should occur there…looking people in the eye and bouncing ideas off each other.
    Yet, how many events a year do we attend or how often can we afford to meet others face to face? I have ideas and questions everyday and these channels the web provides me with help me clarify my ideas by engage with others.
    I must say that for me…the best discussions happen when I get to talk with an interesting people who are able to both provide support and share their critical eye. They can both happen face to face and online. Yet, I must say that it has been online that i have made the most interesting connections, which often are extended to face to face contact…when geography permits or traveling is possible.
    Yesterday, it was nice to mainly lurk and see what you guys were discussing. I was lucky to be able to connect to the event even though I was the researcher *not* in the room! 🙂

  2. Tweets that mention Non-Digital Researcher | PhD Blog (dot) Net -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jennifer Jones, Andy Coverdale. Andy Coverdale said: New blog post. Non-Digital Researcher #dr11 […]

  3. antonella esposito Says:

    Good point Andy. I had a similar experience at a previous conference, where I didn’t bring my laptop with me. I believe that alternatively experiencing on-site and online opportunities is the best way to get the most from each one. I think that the workshop format facilitated an intensive exchange of opinions among on site participants at #DR11. It was not the same for remote participants (like me), who anyway had immediate access to materials and recordings of the sessions. Maybe the timespan of the event was too short to boost a real interaction also at a distance, and the delay of livestreaming didn’t help that. However, It think the sessions sparked curiosity and reflection on a number of issues, that is difficult to solve in lonelyness. Just social media could host an unplanned, informal follow-up among all participants. I see something of that today on Twitter.

  4. Jez Cope Says:

    As someone else not present in person, it was very helpful to have all the tweets accompanying the more conventional elements (and yes, I’m including the live-streamed audio as being more conventional these days).

    While I agree that the highest-quality interaction takes place face-to-face, back-channels like Twitter can be really valuable even for delegates there in person, as it allows them to discuss the presentations as they progress, and in a way which is archived for later review. This is most noticeable when there are several parallel sessions, as it becomes possible to discuss with people in the other sessions.

  5. Andy Coverdale Says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments, and delighted to see #dr11 was so well received remotely. I’m all for people adopting whatever channels of amplification they care to use at events like this. As a frequently frustrated conference non-attendee myself, I especially appreciate Cristina’s point.

    But, outside of the formal live-streaming, more participatory forms of amplification can vary widely, from tweets, to live-blogging (some nice work from Jennifer Jones yesterday, who seems to have the ability to type quicker than I can think), to post-event reflective accounts. How well do these capture the formal and informal dialogues that occur at such events? Personally, I tend not to get much qualitative value from conference tweets remotely (even those that develop into threaded conversations), particularly when original contexts can be ambiguous, so it’s interesting Jez picked up on these. Perhaps yesterday’s Google Docs exercise at #dr11 was an attempt to develop a more structured and collaborative format.

    That said, the distractive element of such practices was a major issue of concern discussed in our group, and I would question whether our contribution, even as a summary, went anywhere near to representing the richness and nuances of our discussion. This is obviously an under-researched and increasingly important area of practice…

  6. Pete Fraser Says:

    […] non-digital researcher […]

Leave a Reply