Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Key Questions

Rather than doing a keynote talk, to introduce their own thoughts on online communities and social texts, danah boyd and Clay Shirky are doing a session of key questions. They had all participants email them with central research questions we all want to explore/see the answer to. Now they are reading these questions and asking the people out here for the answers.

This is an interesting idea, but I have to admit, the many sessions here have been so fragmented that I was looking forwards to hearing somebody who know what they are talking about finish a fully shaped argument on something they care about and want to share. The research question form is disruptive and hard to follow, and underlines the cultural and linguistic differences between the different participants. Or perhaps just between me and the different participants.

Yes, there are a lot of interesting questions coming up. Problem is that I am totally filled up now. Perhaps this had been a good beginning, so that we could have used these questions as the background for forming all the discussion goups. As an ending it does the opposite of rounding up and concluding, as it forces the entire field again wide open. Which may be what the cute couple try to do.

Update: after the key questions they did keynotes. Shirky was talking about something something we made open online spaces which functioned in different ways for people, while boyd had some interesting reflections on how myspace developed. Both were descriptive rather than reflective or analytical.

Not a bad thing, but I am starting to hunger for the well-phrased argument, the thoroughly referenced hypothesis. I never knew I had become such an academic stickler, 15 years ago I would have been deeply impressed with the profound ideas being thrown on the table here.

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