The diversity of this conference is one of the reasons that I enjoy it so much, along with the shared interest in social media. I find that there's something to learn from each paper at the conference, no matter how different the researcher's work is from my own. Sometimes I glean new information about a research method or a tool. Other times I learn a new theory, or I encounter a new perspective on an issue. At the end of the conference, I find that I have a collection of personal notes, a number of tweets that I've saved, an album of photos I took (posters, slides), and several papers from the proceedings that I want to read. I also have accumulated some business cards and additional people in my Twitter network. I imagine that when I fly home on Sunday it will be a good time to try to download the experience into some organized notes and action items in my bullet journal.
Another thing that I like about this conference is the active use of Twitter. The conference hashtag (#SMSociety) is pretty active, and sometimes you can even get into a conversation with people in another session. The Twitter stream is a great way to connect with people and learn about things you might have missed. Here's a tweet from an attendee that shares the overall Twitter trends for the conference:
Time series analysis of tweets for #SMSociety via @visibrain's Quick Trends explorer. There were large peaks for workshops, the welcome & keynote, and for plenary & awards. pic.twitter.com/1lLqccleHp— Dr. Wasim Ahmed (@was3210) July 20, 2018
Here's another tweet showing the overall network from the conference. If you enlarge the image a bit I bet you can find me in there.
Massive network of #SMSociety visualised using TAGS Explorer. (https://t.co/rjqXaMEG8k) pic.twitter.com/sSkHL4qc3v— Dr. Wasim Ahmed (@was3210) July 20, 2018
It may not surprise you to learn that Dr. Wasim Ahmed won the award for most active tweeter at the conference (yes -- there was an award for that!).
Some of the thoughts I'm left exploring at the end of the conference include:
- What does it mean to be a social media user? How do we account for different types of use (active and passive ones)?
- To what degree does social media simply reflect natural human behaviors vs create new ones?
- Is it too invasive to ask to see people's social media accounts and activity logs directly? Or is that the best way to get accurate information about interactions?
- What is the best approach for social media education in a K-12 setting?