Yesterday I pulled one of those last-minute changes to teaching plans, and I think I need to think it through a bit here to figure out what I think.

My students in Rhetoric 102 (an argument/research course) are reading Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz’s Everything’s an Argument, and we’re scheduled to talk about fallacies this morning (in half an hour, in fact). Now, I’ve never liked teaching fallacies–it always smacks too much of memorizing terms that aren’t very useful (despite the usefulness of being able to spot fallacies in practice). In previous semesters, I’ve skipped this chapter, using a different textbook. But this is my first time with this book, so I thought I’d dig in.

Unsure of exactly what I would do, I tossed onto my schedule long ago that on individual computers in the lab, we would find fallacies on Daily Kos (liberal) and Instapundit (conservative), sites that the book recommended as places to find things to analyze. But when I actually sat down yesterday and spent time browsing the sites, I got distracted.

Specifically, by this: “Racists Respond to Article about Racism” on Daily Kos. Author UberGoober is responding to a couple of other articles discussing the use of the word nude as a default word meaning “the color of nude skin if you’re white.” Here’s how he links to the first article and responds to it:

Replacing the Fashion Industry’s Definition of “Nude”

At first, I found myself chuckling over the premise of the article. Of course the author wasn’t wrong, but… Really? Is that such a big problem? Silly college kids…  But finally the author got to her real point:

We aren’t trying to condemn the entire fashion industry or all manufacturers of commercial goods as intentionally racist. What we are saying is there are subtle instances of racism ingrained into our daily lives; instances so commonplace they often go unnoticed.

Wow. Bingo! The author is absolutely right.

But here’s where it gets nasty: when a conservative site later cites the OU story to make fun of it, UberGoober read the comments . . . and he says that every single comment was nasty. Here’s how he ends:

For some reason, I was surprised by this. I know not all conservatives are racist.  But it is so commonplace now that it goes unrebutted. Not a single person pointing out the inappropriate responses or suggesting the author may just have a point. Not one.

I’m disgusted. I used to respect the differences between liberals and conservatives (for the record, I used to  be a conservative). There’s nothing to respect here. They aren’t driven by viable alternative political views. They are driven by willful ignorance, bigotry and hatred. And they like it that way.

Ugh, I thought. Here’s an author who tried to dig into fallacious reasoning and just got disgusted by what he found. And I was feeling the same thing. So how was I supposed to deal with this in class–was there a way to work this into a lesson on fallacies? I don’t know. But here’s what I decided:

This morning (in 20 minutes, now), we’ll go to the computer lab. I’ll tell the story of my poking around and finding those articles. Then we’ll open a shared Google Doc that says this:

Practice Identifying Fallacies

I find that people are especially likely to use fallacies when discussing “isms”: qualities like racism or sexism that stir up passionate debate on both sides.

To explore the ways fallacies work in practice, follow these steps:

  1. Skim the list of “isms” from this page, run by the Social Justice Center at Washington University in St. Louis. Focus especially on ones you aren’t as familiar with.
  2. Pick one of the isms and search for it in Google News’s blog search, which is more likely to give you an opinionated point of view than a factual news story. (You may search for a related word if you like–so you can search ableism or ableist.) Here’s how to search:
    • Head to Google News at https://news.google.com/.
    • Search for your word. The results will include news sources and blogs.
    • Underneath the search bar, you can now click “Search tools.” That will make a new bar appear; on it, click “All news” and select “Blogs” instead.

screenshot of Google News

Now your results are all from blogs!

  1. Skim through the search results until you find an opinionated piece that interests you. It might be an article you agree with, disagree with, or aren’t sure about.
  2. Read the article in search of fallacies. Don’t forget to skim the comments! Use EAA ch. 5 for examples of things to look for. If you’re not finding anything, ask yourself, “Is there a part of this argument that I don’t agree with, or that I can imagine someone else not agreeing with?
  3. If you find some fallacies, report them below, under the horizontal line, following my example. If you can use the term from the book, that’s awesome–but if you can’t quite put your finger on how to name the fallacy, that’s okay too. Just describe it so the rest of us (who haven’t read your article) will know what you found. 

Copy the following template, paste it at the bottom of this document, and then fill it in with what you found.

Your name:
Link to webpage you read: [if you hit the space bar right after pasting, it will turn into a link]
Author and title of the webpage: [put the title of the page in quotation marks and capitalize all the big words]
Fallacies you found: [in your own words]

Your name: Dr. Stedman
Link to webpage you read: http://www.oudaily.com/opinion/editorials/replacing-the-fashion-industry-s-definition-of-nude/article_b1280ffc-376b-11e4-9332-0017a43b2370.html
Author and title of the webpage: By The Editorial Board (no author named), “Replacing the Fashion Industry’s Definition of ‘Nude’”
Fallacies you found:  The first commenter compares the article author to ISIS, essentially saying that these “rigid ideas about women’s clothing” are similar to conservative Islam’s requirements that women dress in a certain way. It seems like a fallacious comparison to me–criticizing the word “nude” in fashion is very different than actually regulating what people wear. If I turn to the book, it’s closest to the “faulty analogy,” I think (87-88).

[End of document, with space where they’ll fill in their findings]

Here’s language that I included at first but took out to make the document easier to use:

Side note: Why are fallacies more common on these topics?

My guess is that this is often because of a fundamental disagreement about how to define the “ism.”

An example: some people see racism as relating to a particular moral failure in a particular moment, kind of like saying that a statement was “hateful.” They might say, “A racist statement is one that was purposefully designed to hurt someone of a different race.”

But others see racism as a broad element that is built into a culture at the deepest levels. These people might say, “A racist statement is one that relies on the deep history of inequality that shapes our ideas and relationships and language.” Therefore, a racist statement might not be a purposefully hateful statement, from this point of view–it might be evidence of a deeper cultural problem.

So consider people with these two very different perspectives arguing about if something is or is not racist. How could they ever agree with each other? In that frustration, I think many turn to fallacious arguments.

So why am I telling you all this? I’m not sure. But it’s bugging me more than usual, our inability to have civil discourse, the disturbing nastiness that is lingering under so many of our facades. I mean, I’m a Presbyterian–I shouldn’t be surprised by disturbing nastiness lingering under facades; it’s part of my worldview. But when you see it come out in the comments, it’s a different thing somehow.

And yes, I know what you’re going to say: Kyle, don’t read the comments. Never read the comments.

Greetings! I’ve recently agreed to host and produce a new monthly podcast on pedagogy. Fun, right?

Though the podcast will focus on pedagogy, it will probably especially also cover the other things I’m interested in: digital technology, multimodal assignments, rhetorics of sound and music, intellectual property, fan studies, and kind of everything else, as long as it connects to teaching in some way.

What I Need

For my firstest episode ever, I need your help. I’d like to collect short audio clips from amazing post-secondary teachers around the country (world?) answering the following prompt:

What do you do online to prepare for your classes each semester? What digital tools do you use? What spaces do you set up for yourself and for your students?

Do you have something that you could share in a one-minute audio file (max)? (I bet you do. You think you don’t, but you do. You’re amazing.)

If you want to share, I’d love to get an audio file from you by Wednesday, August 6. Details below on how. But no matter how you choose to share, be sure that I know your name (both spelling and pronunciation) and your institution. If you submit something, I’ll assume I have your permission to include your words and voice–which may be edited for quality and concision–in a freely distributed podcast online; if you’re not okay with that, don’t submit.

Questions? I’m @kstedman.

How to Share

Option 1: You already know how to record a one-minute audio file. 
Excellent! Then all you need to do is email it to me at KyleDStedman [at] gmail. (Don’t miss my middle initial, D, in the email address. Kind of stupid of me to put it there, I know.) I prefer an mp3 at 192 kbps or higher quality, but I’ll really take whatever I can get.

Another way to share is through SoundCloud (an audio storing and streaming site, kind of like the audio equivalent of YouTube). My account there is kstedman. If you upload a track to your (free) SoundCloud account, you can then share it with me easily: go to my profile page, click the little message icon under my picture on the left, and in the message, click “add track”; you’ll be able to choose any file you’ve uploaded. There are also easy ways to share an uploaded file with people via social media and email; just click around (or ask me if you’re not sure).

Option 2: You need some suggestions for recording and editing audio files.
Hey, that’s fine. We all begin somewhere. Recording is easy; it all depends on how fancy you want to get. For instance:

  • You can record straight to SoundCloud if your computer has a built-in mic or if you have a microphone you can plug in (which sounds better, if you’ve got one). Plug your mic in, go to SoundCloud, and click “upload” in the upper right. There will be an option there to record your audio straight to the web, and when you’re done you’ll be able to share it with me (see instructions under Option 1 above) or email it to anyone you want.
  • You can also record straight to SoundCloud on their app (iOS; Android), which actually includes a bit of simple editing as well (so you can edit out false starts and coughs–though I can do that for you too).
  • If you want to get fancier (and who doesn’t?), there’s always Audacity, the powerful free audio editing software. I won’t bulk up this post with instructions, but you can read their Getting Started page. Essentially, you would install Audacity, use it to record yourself speaking, edit anything you want to edit, export to an mp3, and then send that mp3 to me through email or SoundCloud.

Option 3: This is complicated and I’m freaking out and will never help for that reason.
Thanks for your honesty! Take a deep breath, and then consider this possibility: leave me a voicemail with your contribution. I’ve used Google Voice to set up a voicemailbox at area code 815 and then 201 and then 2815. (Trying to avoid spam by writing it funny.) Leave a message there and I’ll be notified!

Now What?

After I get all your awesome contributions (by Wednesday, August 6), I’ll choose a few of the best and most varied, collect them into a podcast with some additional comments from me, and distribute it to my publishing team by the middle of August. When the final product is available, I’ll contact everyone who submitted anything so you’ll know how to access the finished podcast.

(And by the way, if you compose music or know someone who does, consider writing snappy intro/outro music for me!)

The drums on R.E.M.’s first album Murmur and its follow-up Reckoning sound completely different. I’ve listened to these albums on and off for twenty years, and I hadn’t paid attention to the drums until recently.

Here’s how it happened: I read J. Niimi’s book about Murmur, a delightful exploration of its recording, lyrics, and meanings. Then I sat and listened to the whole album through headphones. Just sat and listened. Then I read Greg Milner’s Perfecting Sound Forever, a book that, among other things, has reminded me how much I haven’t been hearing in the recordings I have. Then I decided to read a bit about how Reckoning was recorded. Then I sat and listened to the whole album through headphones. Just sat and listened.

And there’s a real difference: Murmur’s drums, recorded in a booth dedicated just to drums, are clean, distinct, a bit tinny–“disco,” according to one source I can’t find any more–and, to my ears, not really worth saying much about. But Reckoning‘s drums are rock-and-roll, strong, and intense. It sounds obvious to me now. I can’t unhear.

But here’s the thing: for years, I’ve always thought of those two records as having the same sound, more than any other R.E.M. records. They were twinsies, with what I’ve always thought of as similar, simple liner notes; similar, simple songs; similar, simple meanings.

How much of that judgment, though, came from my personal history with those two records–my first R.E.M. albums bought on CD, bought at the same time, shelved next to each other, and paired by me (not by them or by the sounds of their drums) as a sort of disc one and two of a double album?

Really, though, it’s more like this: there is indeed a double album effect going on here, but each album is a disc one and me, my body, and my memories are an always-present disc two.

***

Here’s Thomas Rickert: “ambience puts place, language, and body into coadaptive, vital, and buoyant interaction” (via).

Buoyant: it floats. I float. And I float because I’m enmeshed in something else that is denser than I am.

The spine of Reckoning: “File under water.”

***

I didn’t like R.E.M.’s first two albums all that much, at first. I wasn’t really their intended audience, either: I first heard them ten years after they were released, in 1992, when “Drive” from Automatic for the People (album #8) was on the radio stations I was starting to listen to. This was sixth grade, which I musically associate with Automatic, Pearl Jam’s Ten, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, and Arrested Development’s Three Years. . . . 

Autumn Lockwood told me that R.E.M.’s old stuff was better; she made me a tape of Document (album #5, still something that sounds little like Murmur and Reckoning) plus her favorite two songs from Lifes Rich Pageant (“Superman” and “Swan Swan H”).

I liked it. I slowly decided I should methodically own the whole back-catalog, so I joined and re-joined and re-joined Columbia House and BMG until I had most of their albums on tape and CD.

I remember so much about the look and feel of how that music was packaged: Autumn’s yellow tape sleeve with hand-written song titles; my white Automatic tape; Michael Stipe’s changing face: airbrushed inside Eponymous, wrinkled and wise inside Automatic; my tape of Green so faded from leaving it in cars.

In the context of my rediscovery of this band that everyone else had known for a decade, I always lumped Murmur and Reckoning together as kind of weird sounding, with something distasteful that I couldn’t place. Lifes Rich Pageant somehow sounded right to me, like the R.E.M. I knew singing songs I hadn’t had the privilege to know yet. The first two albums sounded like a different band; they were part of a context I didn’t know anything about (early 80s college rock); they were a swimming pool I had been too young to play in.

But here’s what I wonder: Murmur and Reckoning were my first R.E.M. albums on CD. Was this a band that, for me, was fundamentally tied to the medium of the cassette? Was it wrong, or impossible, for me to enjoy them any other way? And what does it mean that I chose to get their oldest records on the newest recording technologies, like watching a John Wayne movie on Blu-Ray, or watching recordings of old musicals on YouTube, or listening to digital versions of old cylinder recordings?

No, those parallels aren’t right. It was more like taking a river–the entire experience of standing with your feet in a rushing, cold, fresh-smelling river–and shoving the whole thing into a 1-liter Nalgene bottle, and then sipping from the bottle, and then saying that the river isn’t your favorite river of all the rivers.

***

Milner’s book describes a visit he had with Dr. John Diamond, a man convinced that listening to digital audio is physiologically hurting us:

He encouraged all of his patients, no matter what issues they were working through, to make music a regular part of their lives–listening to it, and, if possible, playing it themselves. But recently he had noticed that music did not seem to be doing some of them any good. In fact, it appeared to make their ailments worse. . . .

It didn’t take him long to figure out that many of his patients were listening to records manufactured from digital masters. Could that be the problem? When he could find them, Diamond substituted analog versions of the same songs or pieces–sometimes even by the same performer–and the music once again proved therapeutic.

(via)

***

I know I want to write about R.E.M. and how my memories affect how I’ve heard their music throughout the years.

So naturally, I go to the section on the canon of memory in my dissertation. The first sentence of that section makes me physically jump back a second, because I think it coincidentally mentions R.E.M., but it turns out I’m just seeing it wrong. The sentence actually reads, “When I hear the word memory, I think of computer memory, in terms of hard drive space and RAM.”

This makes me pause. I wasn’t thinking about a computer’s “memory” when I started this post. But as I write, I’m streaming a 1985 R.E.M. concert from Germany in another browser window, a concert I learned about when I tweeted a quote from an online article about the band:

These days, R.E.M. is wrapped into my digital memory just as much as they were ever wrapped into my body’s memory.

***

20th-century composer John Adams once told an interviewer this:

There is a ten-year-old boy (not a student) who comes over to my house every week or so and plays his music for me. He has a MIDI sequencer at home, and his pieces are all polished and notated with his print software. I don’t discourage him for doing that, but I also point out that there’s no substitute for having plain, awesome musical chops: having a great ear, being able to perform well on an instrument, and having a huge, encyclopedic knowledge of music. Composers should know everything.

(via)

***

For a couple weeks now, I’ve been listening to the early R.E.M. albums over and over, checking out the special editions from the library, streaming various shows, reading the lyrics on various websites.

And in a digital, analog, distant, embodied sort of way, I’ve taught myself to love these records. Really, really love them. Eventually, I know I’ll move on to the next records, paying attention to them all in this new way, with headphones and lyric sheets in front of me. But I’m not ready yet. I want more early R.E.M.

(And in the back of my mind: can you manufacture love? Can you manufacture a river?)

After Computers and Writing 2014, I’m thinking a lot about how composers sometimes purposefully leave it up to their audience to make meanings–something that was especially driven home when I saw Dan Anderson perform this piece live. In that spirit, I’m going to focus on the things I saw and heard at the conference and leave it at that.

Saw: new rules for the C’s the Day card game.

Rhet/Comp trading card game at #cwcon and this is the book I wrote on my way to tenure. I wouldn't even read it.

A photo posted by mindthecliche (@mindthecliche) on

Heard: Oh, are you waiting for the Pullman shuttle too?

Saw the Palouse:

the Palouse. #washingtonstate #palouse #kamiakbutte #computersandwriting

A photo posted by Material Lives (@materiallives) on

Heard: When we first moved here, my husband wanted to run through the grass. He thought it would be all soft.
Was it?
Oh, no. Not at all.

Saw: a room full of amazing friends in an old post office:

Saw: a secret mineral museum, which at least felt like a secret to me, since I randomly walked into a tall building hoping to look out of a tall window and found dinosaurs and black lights and everything old:

Lesson: exploring is worth it. #rockmuseum #dinosaurbones #cwcon

A photo posted by Kyle Stedman (@basementwall) on

Heard: a delightful collection of advice and mentoring and friendship at the annual Graduate Research Network. (Whether a student or not, I think this meeting is reason enough to attend the conference.)

Saw: a bowl made of words. The next day, it was still there:

M|seum of |rt #wordbowl #cwcon

A photo posted by Kyle Stedman (@basementwall) on

Heard: Matt Gomes‘s smooth mix–smooth like whiskey, like Jodeci:

B•) by Matt Gomes on Mixcloud

Heard: Abigal Lambke‘s strong argument in A10 for attention to monomodal composition, like sonic essays that exist only in sound and no other modality. Bonus: she’s a killer teacher; I want to use some of her assignments.

Saw: more of the C’s the Day card game:

Testing the #cstheday card game. #cwcon #d8

A photo posted by Kyle Stedman (@basementwall) on

Heard: more conversations about 90s music than I’d heard for years. I still don’t know how much I was making these conversations happen, or if they just happened to circulate around me, like a sonic tornado. But surely it’s not just a coincidence that on one night, Tim Lockridge tries to remind me how amazing STP’s Purple is, and then the next day Wendi Sierra puts on her grunge station on Pandora, which manages to play like every song from the album. Sigh . . . 90s music.

Heard: some karaoke for the ages, including Iron Maiden, Lisa Loeb, Phil Collins, Bon Jovi, Kris Kross, Goo Goo Dolls, and Boyz II Men. Best backup singers ever.

Saw and Heard: the Pittsburgh power team’s presentation Archiving the Future: Three Material In(ter)ventions (F4), one of the best of the conference. Kerry Banazek discussed HDR photography, bringing up the question of to what extent material recordings replicate reality. Erin Anderson tricked us into believing we were hearing a conversation between a couple and their therapist, only to discover that neither person had ever met–Erin had digitally manipulated the conversation. (It’s the “age of the splice,” she said, quoting Stanyek and Piekut.) Trisha Campbell shared her murder archive with us, fully disclosing the possible ethical problems, “tricking” the voices into speaking in this space, and “tricking” us into listening, and thus becoming complicit in our own way. Wow.

Saw and Heard: session H1 with powerhouses Dan Anderson (video linked above in 1st paragraph), Jason Loan, and Justin Hodgson. My only notes were “Too good to take notes….” I’ll just say this: there were trains, Bon Iver, juxtaposition, lasers, Die Hard, and all kinds of things in Justin’s video:

#riskyscholar #ftw

Thought: What would it look like to have a #riskyscholar performance/presentation during each session time at future Computers and Writing conferences? Ones where the presenters are sharing/speaking/making/meaning but not necessarily in ways that are interpreted the same way by everyone in the room. Verging on art. And if we’re not making art–I at least at this moment want to say, even if I don’t know if I mean it all the time–if we’re not making art, why are we making at all?

Saw: all kinds of prep for the session I was honored to be on (I1) with pals Steven Hammer, Harley Ferris, and Jon Stone:

Setting up for #i1. #cwcon

A photo posted by Kyle Stedman (@basementwall) on

Heard: so many sounds during our panel that I can barely list them, but they include: the wavery sounds of a welcoming record on an uneven turntable; the pops and clicks when a record has run out but no one has removed the stylus yet; the sounds that the Lomaxes recorded when traveling through the South and recording in prisons in the 1930s and such; a Bach organ piece paired with 80s electronic war sounds; a Bow Wow record played simultaneously with the record player’s stylus and a homemade needle/microphone apparatus; a microphone dropped into Coke; a room invited to make chaotic sounds at the same time; a room joining together to feel the feels that come when “Stand by Me” is joined by images from the Civil Rights era; conversations about what sounds we have the right to co-0pt and which we don’t; conversations about spaces that allow and disallow sonic disruptions (punctuated by a perfectly planned phone ring). (Happily, the group singing was recorded once and twice.)

I’m serious. In 75 minutes, I heard those sounds.

The last 49 minutes of those were caught here:

Heard: lots of goodbyes from new and old friends, whom I never know if I should hug or not.

Heard: this delightful 1991 performance from R.E.M. on an old tape while writing this, which must must must have affected the things I wrote but the thing is you don’t know what or how you don’t know you don’t know:

There are lots of things I could blog about:

1. Why it feels different when I layer different sounds in Audacity (e.g.) vs. when I layer different sounds using records and tapes and CDs.

2. Why Thomas Rickert’s Ambient Rhetoric says everything I want to say, but why I still find myself approaching it tentatively, critically, unsure how far I’m willing to walk with him, like an uncle who is taking child-me to see a movie that I really want to see but that feels somehow dangerous, like my mom would be disappointed if she knew I went to see that movie.

Wrigley Field3. Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam! How I re-listened to all the albums in order, decided that Vs. is best but Binaural is the most underrated, wondered how much it was possible to escape my first impressions on listening to Ten in sixth grade, saw them play at Wrigley Field until 2 a.m., read the book and watched the documentary, and all along thought about how music has a history and I have a history and they’re the same and different.

4. How the 2 weeks between the end of spring semester and the beginning of summer session feel like a return to grad school days–sitting at home, reading tough stuff that makes me feel dangerous, writing stuff that doesn’t make me feel dangerous enough–and how that’s kind of good and kind of not.

5. Ideas for teaching introduction to creative writing for the first time this fall.

6. Ideas for teaching the rhetoric of sound and music, maybe in the spring.

7. Why, definitively, Arrested Development is the best comedy ever and Lost is the best drama ever and for the same reasons.

8. How I have too many “I ought to do that” categories in my life right now: exercise, gardening, publishing, blogging, redesigning the blog. But all I feel like doing is watching Arrested Development and listening to Pearl Jam and starting more videogames that I will never finish.

9. #YesAllWomen and the surrounding discussions, which need to be heard over and over.

10. The kinds of conference presentations I like to see.

11. Why lists matter.

12. Why matter matters. (And why that’s not very original of me to say.)

13. All of the tweets I’ve starred (but which I don’t think I can link you to, directly, so you can see how great they are), which, it turns out, are SO GOOD (like this this this this this and that’s just some from this month, folks). And probably all of the bookmarks I’ve bookmarked. And how all of the things are there, tagged and marked by me, waiting for me to enact them and read them and experience them all over again, but which will probably just sit there, metadated (metastasized?), never to be unearthed, except maybe by a biographer 50 years from now but who has the time for that?

14. How I sometimes ask students to please cut their sentence lengths down and use some punctuation for goodness sakes and then–ho ho!–secretly take their own style and write those very kinds of sentences here and elsewhere, with pauses in all the wrong places. Because. (That’s an article recommended by a student, btw.) (That’s right: btw.)

15. June. Because it’s almost June.

16. Why it feels different to layer words into a list on a blog post versus out loud.

I attended the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Now I’m back. Here are 25 things about it. (Well, sort of.)

1. The final panel I attended was N.36, Never Mind Geoffery Sirc: A Tribute Panel. It was beautifully weird; I didn’t take many notes. But I did write this, which I think is an exact quote from Jenny Rice: “I know nothing. Absolutely nothing. But I know this: non-knowledge communicates ecstasy.” And during Jeff Rice’s presentation, I wrote this single line, which he might have said or it might be what he made me think of: “Juxtapositions are relationships.”

2. In G.28, “How I Got Open”: Africana rhetorics, literacy, and visions for Contemporary Rhetorical Education, I tweeted this:

3. Featured speakers for E session were DJ Lynnee Denise and Sommer Regan McCoy of the Mixtape Museum. At the end of the session, I grabbed one of DJ Lynnee’s mix CDs, a single long track of African rhythms mixed with funk and house music. It’s impossible to listen to it without hearing an argument: the unspoken claim that there are important similarities between these musical heritages. I can’t help but wonder if I would have heard the argument if I hadn’t heard her speak. (This was a highlight panel for me.)

4. Twice, I ate at Loughmiller’s Pub. I usually try not to do that at conferences. But you know, it was close to the conference hotel. It looks like this:

5. Twice on the first day, I found myself leading sessions related to intellectual property: a morning workshop on IP and fair use in the classroom, and an afternoon caucus meeting (open to everyone, if you’re wondering!) for everyone interested in IP as it relates to scholarship and teaching. It was the 20th anniversary, so I picked up this cake:

6. I don’t think I ate any other cake at the entire conference, except for that cake.

7. In the opening session, chair Adam Banks mentioned time travel:

8. About a month earlier, chair Adam Banks retweeted me when I mentioned time travel:

9. In a paper on Afrofuturism (the panel I mentioned above in #2, but in a talk by Earl Brooks, who was filling in for a speaker who couldn’t be there), we watched the video for Janelle Monáe’s “Tightrope.” The song was in my head just about nonstop after that moment. It’s that good. Then today, I saw her whole ArchAndroid album for $3.99 on Amazon. I bought it.

10. I’m watching Star Wars, kind of, while I type this. Luke just said, “I’m going to finish cleaning those droids,” and then there’s the suns and the music and your heart.

11. The first two times I went to C’s (2007 & 2009), I felt a little awkward, a little out of place. By my third time (2010), I realized I was making friends. This time (my 7th) was friend-tastic: I got to reconnect with a friend from undergrad, friends and professors from graduate school, lots of folks whose work I love, and even a friend who went to my graduate school the year after I left. As an introvert, I kept expecting to get sick of all the friend time and need more recharging time. And yeah, I got exhausted some. But mostly, I ate up the friend-time; it was the highlight of the trip. Like cake that’s so good you drive for five hours just to eat it.

12. Michelle Comstock (in M.21) proved herself to be a sonic boom of a teacher, with her soundscape documentary and sonic memoir projects. I want to take her classes and teach her classes and live a while in her classes.

13. Polysyndeton: “Employing many conjunctions between clauses, often slowing the tempo or rhythm” (via). (“Polly sinned a ton”?)

14. I had a good time playing C’s the Day, the augmented reality game at the conference. Since I won (in 2011, maybe?), I always tell myself I won’t play. But then I can’t help completing a few quests, getting a few stamps, collecting a few cards. There’s something satisfying about the sound of the stamp, that subtle almost-squish of a thump as the ink soaks into the booklet.

15. In D.09, Sounding New Media, Kati Fargo Ahern asked the audience to stand up, make sounds, and then change the sounds in response to her instructions. The room was packed, but we stuffed our bags under our chairs, rubbed shoulders, and played along anyway, loving every second. (It took me a sec, but I pulled up the Moon theme from the NES DuckTales game as my sound.)

16. In the same panel, Amy Riordan’s equally powerful presentation was threatened by dysfunctional speakers. Luckily, sound scholar Jon Stone had some in his backpack.

17. Oh no: Luke just found Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru’s burnt bodies. I never noticed the skeletons as a child, somehow.

18. Alliteration: “Repetition of the same letter or sound within nearby words. Most often, repeated initial consonants” (via).

19. In notes from CCCC in 2012, I wrote this during Geoffrey Sirc’s talk: “Our field has embraced an ethos of perfection, like music’s dual-side toward perfection or lo-fi, like Elliott Smith.”  He might have said or it might be what he made me think of.

20. I was getting over a cold that kind of lingered the whole time I was in Indianapolis. That meant that as a day went on, my voice would get froggier and froggier, to the extent that I even skipped karaoke:

21. The funny thing about Mariah Carey is that I can’t tell how much I love her because of her music and how much I love her because of my memories of loving her music.

22. Cagle and I visited the Rhythm! Discovery Center, an interactive percussion museum. It’s delightful to hit things and hear them. I kept pausing to take pictures and record sounds, but part of me is thinking that it would have been even more fun if I had left my device at the door. Sounds are time-based, something you feel in the moment; isn’t there something odd to try to pause them, to capture them?

23. But I mean really, why does Leia kind of sound British in this movie? And is it glib to say that her use of the accent here reminds me of this point from Keith Gilyard?:

24. In notes from CCCC in 2011, I wrote that Geoffrey Sirc said the only textbook he needs when teaching writing is Richard Lanham’s Handlist of Rhetorical TermsHe said it as if it were obvious, as if everyone already knew that the definition of “good writing” is writing that is powerful, dynamic, full of rhetorical figures, as delightful as cake.

25. Others have blogged about the conference too. The ones I’ve seen so far: Chelsea A. Lonsdale, Steven D. Krause, Cruz Medina, Caitlin Martin, Christina M. LaVecchia, Crystal VanKooten.

Tomorrow, I’ll be visiting (via Google Hangout) a workshop at Old Dominion University hosted by the inimitable Dan Richards and Sarah Spangler. The session is called “Public and ‘Private’ Social Media: Curating Your Academic/Professional Identity(ies) on Facebook and Twitter,” and my role is to talk about using Twitter at conferences.

So I’ve been wondering: how do I use Twitter at conferences?

To find out, I thought I’d focus on how I used Twitter at the 2013 meeting of Computers and Writing. I searched Twitter for all occurrences of @kstedman and #cwcon, which should assumably give me 1) tweets I’ve made that include the #cwcon hashtag + 2) tweets others made that mention me, including a few during my presentation. (This search method is why so many awesome tweets by others are left out; I’m mostly just analyzing myself here, not how we use Twitter in general at conferences.)

(Note: Twitter’s search engine for old things like this has been notoriously unreliable in the past, which is why so many smart people archive all the tweets and later analyze them. For my purposes here, though, I’m just going with what the Twitter search results bring up–seems easier right now.)

If I start at the beginning of the conference, then, and move chronologically through the conference, here are some things I discovered about myself:

Marketing my Session:

Marketing may or may not be the right word, but the spirit is right: I wanted people to know, in advance, about the cool experience I was planning for them in my session. A conference program only goes so far, and it’s skimmed so quickly. Online, people see pictures and hear sounds they couldn’t otherwise get.

Connecting with Friends Who Weren’t There:

There’s always someone at home watching the conference hashtag. When possible, I like inviting them explicitly into the events and ideas of the conference–and it always feels good to know when you got a shout-out.

Plain Old Note-Taking:

The back-channel is fueled by folks just plain noting what they’re hearing, which benefits 1) folks in other sessions who kind of wonder what’s going on in the session you’re in, 2) the presenter, who gets to read later on exactly what people took away, and 3) other folks in the same session, who may subtly disagree with or praise/appreciate your interpretations or summaries. Live, real-time conversations = my favorite.

Of course, “note-taking” is an overly simply way to put it. My tweet above is both taking notes and applying the topic of the panel (accessibility) to my own interests (sound). Other possibilities abound. The “fun-and-games” note-taking method:

The “this presenter needs to know how much I’m being personally affected by this awesomeness” note:

The “I’m seeing a new kind of presentation and I like it” note:

And, you know, whatever else comes to mind.

Sharing Links Related to the Sessions You’re Hearing

This topic bleeds into the one above and below it, but it’s important enough that it deserves it’s own heading. I love when I realize that I can help people get a deeper understanding of a topic by doing a quick Google search and sharing the link in real time. And I love it when people do it during my own presentations, similarly enriching what I’m up to:

There are all kinds of other opportunities for real-time sharing of stuff. During a session on job-searching, I knew some people would want to read a post on the job market I had written, so I tweeted about it:

Whatever comes to mind: share it!

Alerting People to Accessibility-Related Resources

For accessibility purposes, it seems kind and ethical to provide a transcript for the hearing impaired–plus, it gives others the chance to catch what you said later on, meditate on it, and perhaps strike up a conversation (or a citation!) later on. But people might not know you went to the trouble to provide one unless they came to the session–or if you tweet about it.

Asking for Advice

As a table co-leader at the Graduate Research Network (where I met some new ODU friends!) I knew there was some degree of expectation that I, um, know things. But I don’t know all the things. So I asked for help. And people on Twitter want to answer you.

Being Fun and Clever and Real (Because You’re Fun and Clever and Real Already, But Not Everyone Knows That Yet)

Because it’s fun. And being fun is how you make friends. And, if I can add a cynical/practical angle: making friends at conferences is how you collaborate on future publications and make professional connections. You know that, though.

Following Up

When you go home, you’ll feel sad. But Twitter helps. You can continuing patting each other on the back, sharing resources, thanking each other, and being a genuinely good and nice person. Because you are. Right?

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