A while back I submitted an abstract to the conference of the Association of Internet Researchers Conference (AOIR) which is being held in late September in Brisbane. I also applied to attend the Doctoral Colloquium on the day before the Conference. To my surprise my abstract was accepted but I was put on the second round offers list for the Colloquium (I thought it might turn out the other way around). I had just started to fret about writing the conference paper and then received an email just last week saying that I've been accepted into the Doctoral workshop in the second round offer. I had a brief crisis feeling a bit overwhelmed by the combined demands but have decided to push on and give them both a go. When I looked closely at the schedule for the Colloquium, each student is presenting for only 20 minutes with an additional 15 minutes set aside for discussion. This seems reasonably manageable and it would be beneficial to receive feedback from a community of researchers who are theoretically working in a similar field. I've set aside today, after I finish blogastinating, to complete the requirements for the Doctoral Colloquium. I have to write an 8 page summary of my phd research which will be circulated to the other members of the Colloquium.
My initial motivation for participating in the AOIR conference probably comes down to my search for a community of academics doing likeminded research, something in the field of social research of technology and technology use. However, I'm not sure there are any networks/communities that are a perfect fit. This conference primarily attracts researchers doing projects on the Internet. My supervisor did say to me that she felt that the AOIR crowd defined this pretty loosely but I still feel that my research is a bit peripheral to this field's self-defined parameters. I'm on the AOIR mailing list and from the posts, I have not discerned any researchers who are interested in the field of technology and work. The use of catch terms like the Internet, CMC, CSCW and SST by communities of academics can be very confusing. These terms are significant key terms drawing together many of these researchers into coherent networks and are often fiercely defended and yet they don't stand up to very much scrutiny or hold the same meanings outside the ongoing circuits of academics attending conferences around the world.