YAPA at AoIR 10 – Internet Critical

I am sitting at Starbucks in Milwaukee waiting for the Association of Internet Researchers conference to begin. The theme of this year’s conference is Critical. I really like this theme. It is simultaneously an acknowledgment of research on Internet cultures that may have been a bit romantic in nature, but also a statement that we are doing real, and legitimate research.

In about an hour I will present a paper entitled Negotiating blended spaces, How Swedish youth are using video sharing sites as a performative arena. The paper discuss how Swedish youth parkour runners mark themselves as members of the parkour community in their videos, but also how these runners experience community and ‘the performative arena’ . I have spent the last couple of weeks interviewing Umeå parkour runners and those interviews really changed my idea of how community works on youtube. Never did I think that community was ‘bounded’ – after all, similar to blog community, users have their own primary spaces/channels. Rather, I was surprised at the fact that these users felt little to no sense of community within the youtube platform. They reported using the site as a repository and as a source of inspiration and information. Possibly because of the active and high quality web page this group has, community is experienced within their own forums in which their videos are embedded. Additionally, a few of the informants reported that videos on youtube were used to initially mark themselves as community members, but once a local community was established the need for posting videos was diminished. This can also be seen in the rate of video uploads compared with the establishment of their club.

Before I run off to register, I wanted to briefly describe an interesting lab moment that I had last week (maybe this should be it’s own post). This is my first ‘real’ conference in a while, so I am a bit nervous. In order to feel well prepared, I gathered up my colleagues and asked them to listen to a mock presentation in the lab. I presented as if I were here, and received thoughtful and very helpful critique. This exercise was great because now I can go up there this morning and feel that the research results I will present flow clearly and the main points have been made. This is the first time that I have prepared this much in advance and I can promise it will not be the last. So to my friends and colleagues in the lab – thank you for your thoughtful and very valuable help!

I am SO excited to be here, and can’t wait to listen to the various sessions. I will blog and tweet my reflections of the conference (and maybe even vlog), so stay tuned!

This entry was posted in conference, YouTube. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to YAPA at AoIR 10 – Internet Critical

  1. Pingback: YAPA at AoIR 10 – Internet Critical | Visual Epidemic

  2. Tyson Cecka says:

    Sounds great! I’ve been collecting appearances of parkour in the academic literature for awhile and this caught my attention. Is your paper available to the general public?

  3. Jim says:

    The theme of ‘Critical’ is interesting in so many ways Steph. Watching your work for the years that I have, I am so glad that you (and this can be said – recently – for myself) have come to the point where you/we can begin to critique the objects of study in serious and calculated ways. Of course these subjects should be taken seriously. Not (just) because we have devoted time and effort to them, as so many others have as well.

    To take one small example that includes an element of ambiguity in it based on what you have written here . The further notion of critical as “being in or approaching a state of crisis” has mileage is relation to how communities of practice are negotiated in publicly networked media as well, I think. I have just returned from playing at a multicultural festival in another town, where at a dinner with the organizers the problems of getting young people to take part in cultural production in the public space was discussed. If we think of how young people engage with community and public space in Sweden, I believe there are elements of crisis present. Access, equability (gendered, ethnicity, class, HBT ), position in the market-place, voice and so much more are worthy of investigation when it comes to communities such as the parkour people. The need to engage with a site like YouTube connects us back to issues arising from the physical public sphere in contemporary and sophisticated ways that make its investigations highly relevant and even important.

    Finally congrats on the conference, and it was good to be part of the process with the paper presentation. From it I think I have gained some insights into what it is you are doing and how you are doing it.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Hi Tyson! Sorry for the late reply. Your comment got caught in the spam filter until I saw it this evening. Right now, the paper is in draft form, but a book chapter from it is in the works. I will email you with more info!

Comments are closed.