Monday, January 09, 2012

Random Bullets of MLA 2012

  • Seattle, a no-snow and nearly a no-coat-needed city. Also, Pike Place Market, restaurants, and for the fans, two Starbucks stores on every corner. Great choice, MLA planners!
  • Free wireless in the conference room block, in the well-lighted convention center, in the Sheraton session rooms--a godsend. The password was still a mystery for a while: It seemed to be passed from person to person, or so someone told me, and when I arrived at one session all ready to tweet it, I couldn't get in because I hadn't thought to ask someone for the password.
  • Better spirits all around. Last year was all about the grim job market, or so it seemed. There was a lot of optimism in the air this year: better job market, enthusiasm about digital humanities, well-attended alt-ac sessions. People looked hopeful, or maybe it was just all that Starbucks caffeine causing those smiling faces.
  • Really good sessions and papers.
  • Lots of iPads and laptops, including use by presenters.
  • Good tech support for presenters: there was a try-out room, and the technicians came by to check whether the laptops would project before tech-using sessions.
  • Saw Rosemary Feal from afar at the big events and learned that her name is pronounced Fay-AL.
  • Learned that the Twitter feed is best read judiciously, since it induces "I should have been there" session envy regardless of how fantastic the session is that you attended.
  • Some sessions were tweeted by multiple people, but other great sessions weren't tweeted at all. Am not sure whether the tweeters are organized in some way so that the tweeting is distributed among sessions or whether they're all just voluntarily tweeting from sessions they'd be attending anyway.
  • When people sit at the twitter/laptop table set up in the back of a room, I keep expecting them to hold up signs at the end of each paper: 5.5, 5.9, 6.0.


Ink said...

Nice recap (and I especially love that last bullet)! Thank you for posting this.

Stacey said...

I sat the blogging/tweeting table in many sessions: were you the woman who asked me the password for wi-fi? ;-) We MUST meet up for a drink next time, ok?

Stacey Lee Donohue said...

Oh, and to answer your question: tweeting is random. There is not professional "group" of tweeters, just folks who decide to tweet at the sessions they happen to attend. I found myself tweeting more at roundtables than at traditional paper-reading sessions for two reasons: 1. as the only tweeter at traditional sessions, it felt too lonely--I wasn't engaged in a conversation, just reporting. and 2. Traditional 20 minute papers are often not-tweetable. The main ideas are buried, often, in lots and lots of prose, sometimes in a fabulously rich way, but not always.

undine said...

Thanks, Ink! It really does seem as though they are the judges, which in the Twitter world I suppose they are.

Stacey, that wasn't me; I got it from a friend in another session. I feel as though we are miners in the old days, sharing sourdough from the little bags around our necks, except this time the sourdough is a password. That's interesting information about how the tweeting is organized. I hadn't thought of it as a social activity, too, in which it's more fun if more than one person is commenting on a session.

Rosemary Feal said...

Love this list! Um, actually, it's Fay-AHL, but you can Call Me Al!

Rosemary Feal

undine said...

Rosemary Fay-AHL--Thanks for stopping by!