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  • Mark 10:08 am on June 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , live tweeting, , ,   

    The #Undisciplining Meta-Conference 

    Now that I’ve recovered from last week, it seemed the right moment to do a round up of the live blogging project Pat Thomson and myself initiated at The Sociological Review’s Undisciplining conference. There were 43 posts from 13 live bloggers over four days. This is a pretty substantial outpouring of thought and reflection over a relatively short period of time:

    1. #Undisciplining Day Zero: Preparing From The Cat Cafe – Mark Carrigan
    2. Live From Breakfast – Pat Thomson
    3. The Hive Begins To Form at #Undisciplining – Mark Carrigan
    4. Landing – Kate Carruthers Thomas
    5. What does it mean to reflect in real time? – Mark Carrigan
    6. Trying to Say Something Clever – Michael Toze
    7. the person/al and the structural? – Pat Thomson
    8. un-mining, (under-mining?) disciplinarity – Anna Davidson
    9. I am NOT a sociologist, get me out of here! – Julia Molinari
    10. sociology of art as a powerful way to reveal the social – Janna Klostermann
    11. making a sociological board game – Pat Thomson
    12. Being alone at conferences – Mark Carrigan
    13. Structure and Undisciplining – Catherine Price
    14. Questions from the geographical edges – Rosemary Hancock
    15. The Missing Links – interdisciplinary in sociological inquiry – Donna Carmichael
    16. A sociological walk of contrasts – Julia Molinari
    17. The Future versus Bureaucracy – Michael Toze
    18. Live blogging and the cinema experience – Catherine Price
    19. Time to Write – Kate Carruthers Thomas
    20. The dreaded conference dinner – Julia Molinari
    21. When a conference has a meta-conference – Mark Carrigan
    22. Care and the conference – Michaela Benson
    23. Echoes from Beyond the Edges of #Undisciplining – Jill Jameson
    24. Conference as home – Pat Thomson
    25. Beyoncé Vs Bev Skeggs – Donna Carmichael
    26. Knowledge production outside the university at #undisciplining – Mark Carrigan
    27. Why should anyone get paid to do sociology? – Mark Carrigan
    28. The feminist walk of the city – Catherine Price
    29. Making friends and changing the world – Rosemary Hancock
    30. The Rising Emotions of Asking the Panel A Question – Julia Molinari
    31. Too Too – Pat Thomson
    32. Not Knowing Why We Do What We Do – Michael Toze
    33. Time Out – Pat Thomson
    34. Outside/In Place – Kate Carruthers Thomas
    35. Undisciplining like a moth to a flame – Janna Klostermann
    36. Re-Sounding Edges: #Undisciplining – Jill Jameson
    37. A Fireside Chat: Defending the Social – Julia Molinari
    38. How does the sociological speak to/with/from the earth? – Anna Davidson
    39. Going Live? – Katy Vigurs
    40. Art! – Janna Klostermann
    41. Beyond the conference – Michael Toze
    42. Reflections on Live Blogging – Catherine Price
    43. Ending Where I Began #Undisciplining – Mark Carrigan

    To what extent does this constitute a meta-conference? It was an organised process of asynchronous dialogue with a remit as wide as the conference itself, with the choice of topics being left to live bloggers as they made their way through the conference. To the extent live bloggers were reading each other and in some cases responding to each other, either directly in a substantive way or indirectly through riffing off themes such as awkwardness or isolation, it is clear the above is more than the sum of its parts.

    It wasn’t simply individuals responding individually, with the live blog being an aggregate of these individual responses. It wasn’t a collective either but rather something in between the two. What is this in between and what can it tell us about conference sociality and how it can be extended and deepened using social media?

  • Mark 11:31 am on June 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , live tweeting, , ,   

    Our social media guidelines for @thesocreview #undisciplining conference 

    Undisciplining Social Media Guidelines
    @TheSocReview http://www.undisciplining.org #Undisciplining

    Social media has been central to our journal in recent years, helping us build a new relationship with our readers and expand beyond our traditional audience. We enthusiastically embrace it as a means to promote sociological thought, as well as a way to work towards a more engaged and open culture within the academy. But making good on this promise requires that it is treated carefully. For this reason, we have included this document in each delegate pack, offering some principles and guidelines to inform your use of social media at Undisciplining. We have a few non-negotiable requirements, included after careful deliberation within our team, but mostly what we have included are pointers we hope will improve everyone’s social media experience at the conference.

    General principles:

    Be clear about what you are doing and why. It can be easy to slip into using social media in a habitual way, particularly when you’re waiting for a coffee break. But the more concrete you can be about your aims, the easier it will be to ensure you are using social media effectively. The table below provides an overview of conference social media activities and common reasons why these might be undertaken. It is by no means exhaustive so please don’t worry if you intend to use these platforms in a way we haven’t listed here but please talk to us if you have any doubts about its appropriateness after reading these guidelines. There are possibilities we haven’t listed here, such as live streaming and recording audio-visual material, which we request that you don’t use at the conference for reasons explained below.

    Remember that people can have different interpretations and will bring different knowledge to the same situation. This might sound obvious but social media can make it hard to remember this by stripping interactions of context and presenting isolated units of communication in a way that is easy to misinterpret.

    Source: xkcd. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License

    We want people to be critical of the arguments they encounter but please try to be civil and give other conference goers the benefit of the doubt. People have a right to know what you are saying about them so please ensure you tag other users if you are talking about their contributions to the conference. Likewise please ensure you credit people appropriately, including relevant affiliations (most academic departments now have Twitter accounts) if the person in question does not have their own feed.  

    Social media can often magnify disagreements and multiply misunderstandings. To paraphrase our favourite xkcd cartoon, if it begins to matter to you that someone is wrong on the internet then that’s a sign you should put down your phone or tablet and engage with the conference without social media for a bit. We want to use social media to help people at Undisciplining connect with each other and the last thing we want is for people to spend the event falling out over social media. We’ve worked hard to create a friendly, engaging and welcoming event so please do your best to approach each other with that ethos when you interact through social media.


    • Please ensure you use the #undisciplining hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. This will allow us to keep track of what’s happening on social media and curate this material before, during and after the event. We are keen to help people connect with each other and connect to other conference goers, so if you’d like us to recirculate something to other participants at the conference please tweet the request to us or e-mail community@thesociologicalreview.com.
    • Please follow the instructions of chairs concerning social media. While we encourage social media at the conference as a whole, speakers and organisers establish what they are comfortable with in their sessions. Therefore please listen to the guidance of the chairs and respect any concerns or requests made by speakers to this end.
    • Please refrain from using live streaming services like Periscope or Facebook Live during the conference. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of being live-streamed and its immediacy can create problems, even for those who might be comfortable with the idea in principle.
    • Please refrain from recording audio or video at the conference. We have put a lot of time and energy into planning the multimedia being produced at the event. We want to ensure that we capture the event in the most effective way and ensure everyone is comfortable with the finished outputs.
    • Please be considerate in your use of photography at the conference. Photography is ok in the main auditorium unless otherwise specified. Please aim for crowds and avoid foregrounding individuals when taking photography outside of sessions. Avoid photography in workshops unless told it is ok.

    If in doubt about something, please ask at any point. Tweet or DM us @thesocreview, e-mail our Digital Engagement Fellow directly at community@thesociologicalreview.com or speak to one of the conference team who can direct your query accordingly.

    Thanks to the many people on Twitter I talked to directly and indirectly about these while planning them. 

  • Mark 9:41 am on May 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , live tweeting,   

    A quick guide to live tweeting 

    I’m writing these notes for the Imagine 2027 project which has a relatively specific remit. Not all of these points will be uniformly valid and there are some things I don’t cover (e.g. the consent of speakers) but I’m sharing them here in case people find them useful:

    1. Begin the live tweeting by introducing the speaker, with a photo and tagging them on Twitter if applicable, using the hashtag e.g. “Full room for tonight’s #imagine2027 with @speaker, talking on how we can have a more equal society by 2027”.
    2. If the speaker is on Twitter, try and tag them as you live tweet but be careful not to start a tweet with their twitter handle. This has to be in main body of the tweet rather than at the start to ensure the message is visible to the full list of followers.
    3. Try and convey the gist of the speaker’s argument rather than capturing every detail of what they’re saying.
    4. Listen out for powerful phrases the speaker uses and tweet these as quotes e.g. “Important message from @speaker at #imagine2027: “powerful phrases they used”.
    5. If they ask any thought-provoking questions then be sure to tweet these out e.g. “What does ‘equality’ mean? Important question by @speaker at tonight’s #imagine2027”
    6. Look through the hashtag #imagine2027 and retweet audience members throughout the talk.
    7. Don’t quote particular audience members when it comes to the Q&A but it’s fine to summarise the topics which are coming up in questions.
    8. Close the session with a tweet thanking the speaker and the audience.
  • Mark 11:13 am on July 25, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , , live tweeting, ,   

    #TwitterGate: the ethics of live tweeting 

    Some useful resources:

    Some live tweeting policies and guides:

    Any examples reader could suggest of policies issued by conferences would be much appreciated!

    Great hashtag visualisation by Sam Martin: http://www.academia.edu/5029537/Visualising_The_Challenge_of_Big_Data_bigdataBL

    Really interesting analysis of an event hashtag by Matt Lingard: https://mattlingard.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/twitter-at-lse-teaching-day/ (quite old now, 2010, but the categories he uses are extremely helpful)

  • Mark 8:05 am on April 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hashtags, live tweeting, ,   

    How to live tweet effectively at academic conferences 

    This useful post on the Pickle Jar blog offers some pointers about effective live tweeting. I agree it’s important to remember that most (?) people reading your live tweets won’t be in the room with you and thus will be confused by any features of the context you take for granted in your tweets. In that sense, I think this is excellent advice:

    Context is key. If you’re sending a tweet out into the world, assume your audience knows very little. If you hear something interesting, try to share it as if you’re sharing words of wisdom with someone who wasn’t there. Feel free to paraphrase, and take pictures of the slides if there’s just too much amazing stuff on there for 140 characters. Those who aren’t there will get something out of it, and those that are will have a reminder that they can re-tweet or favourite.


    But surely live tweeting also serves a purpose for people within the room? The experience of live tweeting has often lived up to the rhetoric of the ‘back channel’: offering an outlet for both exchange with and awareness of other people at the event, many of whom I’ve never previously met. There are obviously risks posed by this (a topic for another post) but it’s also something that can introduce a novel sociality into what might otherwise be a large and impersonal event.

    This is why I think it’s important to distinguish between the official live-tweeter (scene setter, context communicator and summariser in chief) and the voluntary live-tweeting of others at the event. Part of the role of the former is to encourage the latter through regular retweets and rapid responses to any questions. But another crucial part is to provide a sufficient sense of the context to ‘outsiders’ for the flurry of activity taking place amongst ‘insiders’ to be comprehensible and engaging. The insider activity isn’t a threat to the quality of the live tweeting, it’s rather what can make a hashtag fascinating to read if there is someone mediating between the two in order to ensure that ‘insiders’ don’t exclude ‘outsiders’ by taking their shared context for granted.

    There are numerous ways to establish context: regular reminders of what the hashtag is (e.g. “We’re live tweeting from  @BritSoci conference day 2, #BritSoc15”), taking pictures of the venue itself to convey a sense of place, regular statements of the schedule (e.g. “Our next speaker is @mark_carrigan from @SocioWarwick talking about social ontology of social movements”) and signalling openness to queries (e.g. “If you have any questions about #BritSoc15, whether you’re here or not, please get in touch!”). This kind of activity can help if you’re subsequently using the hashtag as a basis to compile a report of the event by providing way marks to make sense of what can be a vast stream of activity. But more importantly I think it also contributes to the accessibility of the event, structuring what might otherwise be an intimidating mass of communication and doing so in a way which encourages it to grow.

    There’s a really important suggestion later in the Pickle Jar post which I’ve only recently started doing myself:

    One way to really add some useful background is to start digging up links. Is the person on stage mentioning a project they worked on? Dig up a link to that project (or better still, a video about it), and share that on the conference hashtag. Do they have a personal site, with background detail? Go find it, and share it. It may seem like a bit of a slog, but Google is your friend here.


    I prefer to live tweet on a phone but I’m planning in future to always use my laptop for this reason. If someone mentions a paper they’ve written, look it up and tweet the link! Tweet the institutional profile of the speaker and always ensure you link to their personal twitter feed and tag the department as well if they have a twitter presence.  In this sense, the official live tweeter does a large part of the ‘networking’ in order that other people don’t have to.

    There’s suggestions later in the post which I’ve experimented with in the past but found people quite reluctant to participate in. Perhaps it’s how I’m phrasing it? But the promise of Audioboom for micro-podcasts with speakers really fascinates me and I’ve love to find a way to suggest this possibility to speakers that doesn’t immediately make them recoil in horror:

    While you’re there, how about tracking a few speakers down for an audio interview? We’ve already chatted about the possibilities of platforms such as Audioboom, and you can use these with little more than a smartphone and a quiet sideroom or corridor.

    If video’s more your thing, why not provide some great content for curators and your followers by capturing a quick chat or a tech demo using Youtube Capture, Vine, or Instagram Video? Or if you’ve got an audience that isn’t in a wildly-different timezone, why not livestream an interview or a quick event summary using Periscope or Meerkat?


    • Christian Smith 8:29 am on April 24, 2015 Permalink

      Thanks for this. So, one idea that I take from this post is the possibility of three tweeting roles at conferences. The first role is the official conference (or specific room or panel in large conferences) live tweeter. The second role is taken up at any point by the various conference participants who tweet independently. The third role is held by a support tweeter to the official conf tweeter. This person provides necessary context where needed, performs on-the-spot research and tweets links to mentioned projects, papers, websites, and mediates between the official tweeters, the participant tweeters and the off-conference audience who may also be tweeting responses to the conf tweets.

    • Mark 2:26 pm on April 24, 2015 Permalink

      Maybe just the first two! One and three could go together

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