The ResNet Symposium begins on Saturday and I’ve been busily preparing for the two activities in which I will be heavily involved:
First, I’m running a pre-conference session entitled about social networking sites. They keep changing the title of the session (it was “The Impact of Social Networking on ResNet Users” and now it’s “Social Networking and Student Life”) but the idea has remained the same. Those who follow this blog and the resources I catalog and collect will recognize the themes and ideas I’ll be discussing. I’ll be sharing most of the materials (slideshow(s), notes, bibliography, etc.) freely once I’m done with the session. We also plan to videotape the session and make it available to NASPA members (or maybe everyone – I don’t know why we couldn’t do that even unless NASPA insists that it only be available to NASPA members since NASPA is paying for the videotaping costs).
In any case, this has allowed me another opportunity to gather my thoughts and resources. The session will be divided into three parts:
- Foundation and generalities: research and background of SNS, including working towards a definition (group activity!); boyd’s work will feature heavily in this section (not just because she’s an expert in these areas but also because she makes so much of her work, including videos of presentations and recordings of discussions, conveniently available; there’s a lesson there, scholars and would-be-scholars!)
- Facebook: an overview of the research that has specifically focused on Facebook, the most popular SNS among traditional American college and university students; Stutzman will be featured in this section but there will be a lot drawn from others, including some excellent undergraduate research
- Practical implications and practices: policy implications, brief legal discussion/warnings, and examples from other institutions
The program is “sold out” so there’s obviously a high level of interest in this topic. I hope this program will garner a lot of interaction and meaningful discussion and thought. We’ll have three hours so we can explore some of those thoughts in detail and I hope to provide a very firm theoretical, historical, and multidisciplinary foundation for those discussions. I’m not an expert in this stuff (I don’t think anyone is, yet) but this program should arm attendees with some of the knowledge necessary to understand not just what’s going on today with Facebook but what is likely to happen in the near future as these challenges and opportunities continue to evolve and change.
Second, I’m continuing my work with the ResNet Applied Research Group (RARG) and we will have one-and-a-half presentations at this summer’s symposium. Entitled “RARG: Then and Now: A ResNet Retrospective,” the “one” presentation will focus exclusively on our current research project that has analyzed the presentations from the previous 12 symposia. We’ve utilized qualitative content analysis, a methodology borrowed from media analysis, to spot trends in the presentations. In particular, we’ll be discussing the themes that are typically present in symposia presentations and other related ideas that will help us understand this profession, its history, and its ongoing challenges more clearly. It’s very exciting original research in several ways (both content and process) and I’m very pleased to have been involved in it; it’s a big step forward for the profession to understand its history and conduct serious and meaningful introspection.
The “half” presentation is entitled “EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research and ResNet Applied Research Group Security Survey Results” and it will be a presentation of data from a security survey we conducted last year. The data are beginning to get “stale” but it’s still the most detailed data available on the topics it covered. As you can tell by the title, it’s only half of a presentation because we’ll be sharing the bill with Rodney Peterson, Government Relations Officer and Security Task Force Coordinator at EDUCAUSE; Rodney will be sharing data from an ECAR security study published last year. It’s great the Rodney will be attending this year’s symposium as he’ll be participating in other events (I believe he has one presentation all to himself and he’ll also be coordinating a Birds of a Feather session). Between this collaboration with EDUCAUSE and my work with NASPA, I think the ResNet Symposium is on the right track in forging and maintaining some key relationships.
If you’ll be attending the symposium, please say hello if we cross paths. If you will not be attending the symposium and you are interested in what you’ll be missing, I plan on writing extensively about the presentations I attend as I did for the ACPA/NASPA Joint Meeting; it’s time consuming to attend and then write about the presentations in that level of detail but it’s very helpful for me to “force” myself to think about and analyze the information and the experiences. If you’re not at all interested in ResNet-related information or discussion, I hope you are at least enjoying the summer and warm weather!