Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Talking About the Internet

Yesterday, I put on my favourite old shoes for luck and drove for three hours to speak at an academic conference.

The conference was all about Transliteracy (defined as ‘the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks’ in case you were wondering.) It as all about how the way we interact with each other is changing due to new technologies, like the internet. I gave a talk about how the role of the author and the reader are beginning to blur and overlap. If everyone is encouraged to join in then how does this change the way we usually think about who write and who reads literature? I spend alot of time researching such things and get over excited by new possibilities for writing.

But oh it was nerve-racking. It is a terrifying business being on a stage with lights shining on you as you try to sound coherent. This was a pretty high-tech conference, so as I was speaking the main points were turned into tweets and posted live on twitter. Even people in the audience were encouraged to tweet about what they thought. There were people blogging about it live and it was being filmed. So clever but a little bit intimidating. In such situations, it is hard not to stare down at your shoes and hope for the best.

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