I have been thinking about the effectiveness of virtual social networking ever since Leigh Blackall made a comment on his blog about the International Computer Mediated Social Networking Conference that is being held in Dunedin this year.
There are two main tertiary institutions in Dunedin: the University of Otago where the organizers of the conference are based, and Otago Polytechnic where Leigh and I work. Leigh was a bit miffed that we had not heard anything about the conference and that there had not been any sort of consultation or collaboration. In fact, there has not even been any advertising of the conference at Otago Polytechnic; I found out about it on the international AOIR discussion list
Considering Dunedin is such as small city, it seems to be a shame that there is not more collaboration between the two institutions. But then again, how would the Department of Information Science at Otago University know what we're up to, or for that matter, even know who we are?
I do not want to get into a discussion about inter-institutional politics, but I do wonder about the effectiveness of the networks we use. What networks are conference organizers using and how are they different from the ones we use? Is all the rhetoric about online social networking actually a load of old codswallop if a few people in a small city cannot find each other?
I am thinking that the best way to approach this is the old fashioned networking method ie give them a ring and try to arrange a 'get-together' to discuss mutual interests. If all else fails, I guess we'll meet at the conference.
Image: 'network' Diego Sevilla Ruiz