Conference Season

HTLit spent the last couple of weeks in a whirlwind of travel and conferences, but we have finally returned with much to report. There’s a lot of great work going on out there, and the conferences led to many new ideas and fruitful discussions.

Traveling directly from Hypertext 2011 in Eindhoven to Web Science ’11 in Koblenz, though demanding, provided a solid couple of weeks of stimulating ideas. There are several good writeups of the conferences: Clare Hooper gives an interesting impression of the overlaps between the two conferences, David de Roure gives a good introduction to Web Science as a discipline, and Jean-Rémy Duboc offers great observations as well.

The main thing we realized at both conferences is that there’s a lot of interest in computers and narrative (whatever we’re calling it). Several groups need to be talking to each other but are only peripherally aware of the others’ existence. People want to make things happen but aren’t sure where to start. Over two weeks I heard murmurs of no fewer than 4 ideas for future meet-ups, unconferences, workshops, etc. that would focus more on discourse and collective creation than presentation. People want more discussion.

Blogs and Twitter will never replace a conversation over a coffee or glass of wine, but we, as a community could be doing more to foster discussion in online environments. I’m not talking about building another directory or repository for work. Even just linking to each other, discussing each other’s ideas, and using the familiar hashtags to have better conversations would be a start.

More thoughts from the conferences to come.