Monday Copenhagen, Wednesday Toronto, Friday Montreal

Next week I’m living the globetrotter life, and I want to invite readers to come by and hear me talk if you’re in the region.

Monday, May 19, I am going to be in wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen where I will not be singing Danny Kaye songs, but will be talking about how the internet was understood as a social medium in the early years of its mass proliferation. This is a public lecture and you’re welcome to come. Here’s the info:

‘Speaking of the internet: American cultural reception of the internet as a social medium’

Hosted by the research group on Digital Communication and Aesthetics, Section of Film and Media Studies, University of Copenhagen

May 19, 2008, 1-3 pm
Room 22.0.47
University of Copenhagen, Southern Campus / KUA

New technologies are historically met with both utopian and dystopian scenarios regarding their social impact. This talk considers how the internet’s consequences for social life were portrayed as it changed from a medium used by an educated, affluent elite to a common part of everyday life for most Americans. Letters and responses published in newspaper advice columns, New Yorker cartoons, and interviews with college students are used to show how positive and negative views played off of one another and moved toward a resolution we have not yet attained. The visions of the internet debated through the letters, responses, and cartoons are both funny and insightful.

Wednesday, the 21st, I am going to be in Toronto at Mesh taking part in a panel about the blurring boundaries between public and private in this age of social networking, twitter, etc:

Are society’s notions about privacy changing? Does anyone even care about privacy any more? Once you provide your information, does it belong to you or to Them? Younger Web users seem perfectly comfortable disclosing even intimate personal details to people they meet online. But some are concerned about what seems like excessive disclosure, and also wonder what happens to your data once social media sites get hold of it. Come and discuss these issues and more with Internet researcher Nancy Baym of the University of Kansas, philosophy professor and author Mark Kingwell, and assistant federal privacy commissioner Elizabeth Denham, in a panel moderated by Rachel Sklar.

Mesh does require registration, and I gather it’s near sold-out, so if you’re in Toronto and want to come (I’m far from the only interesting person speaking!), sign up now. Whoops, sold out already. Congratulations to the organizers!

Friday, May 23rd I will be part of a panel called “Music Goes Online: Dissemination, Acquisition, Meaning, and Place” at the International Communication Association meeting in Montreal. With my collaborator Robert Burnett, I’ll be presenting a paper called “Constructing an International Collaborative Music Network: Swedish Indie Fans and the Internet.” Here’s the abstract:

As major labels, corporate radio, and the mainstream music press wane in importance, recording artists and labels increasingly find themselves competing for attention in a digital space that provides endless opportunities for listeners to discover new music. Having a MySpace page offers direct access to fans, but provides no guarantee that fans will take up that access. In this new environment, small sets of highly active fans come to serve crucial new roles as promoters and filters, becoming de facto taste makers and steering listeners toward new music. This paper presents a model of this phenomenon in the context of the Swedish independent music scene, where fans who write mp3 blogs, news sites, generate online archives, and book Swedish music clubs outside of Sweden are essential in exporting what would previously have been regional music to international audiences. Interviews with such active fans, musicians, and independent label executives are used to argue that these three agents work together to collaboratively construct international and local subcultures in which their shared interests can thrive. Robert Burnett is Professor of Media and Communication at Karlstad University, Sweden. His work on the music industry, the media, and the Internet has been published in numerous books and journals. Nancy Baym is an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas. Her work on online communication, fans and community has been published in the book Tune In, Log On: Soaps Fandom and Online Community (Sage) and in numerous journals and book chapters.

That panel is scheduled from 1:30pm – 2:45pm in Le Centre Sheraton, Salon 3. You are supposed to register for ICA, but if you sneak in to a panel no one will care. Except the people charged with making sure ICA is adequately-financed, that is.

After that, I will be going on vacation with my family for a few weeks. So though I hope to continue blogging, don’t be surprised if my posts are less frequent in the next several weeks.

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