What a long, tedious conference it has been! At this point I’ve been to so many ALA conferences that they all start to blend together. When wandering the exhibit floor I lost time and can’t remember I’m there to check out some new database interface or investigate this newfangled technology I heard about called “microfilm.”
In olden days when sitting in presentations, we unfortunates would at least have to pretend to pay attention. It was, and is, considered rude to pull out a book and start reading, though we could probably get away with some surreptitious knitting.
Fortunately, those days are over. Well, we still can’t pull out a paper book and start reading, but so far from seeming rude, it’s considered de rigueur for librarians to ignore actual presentations and focus on their various devices.
This story captures the zeitgeist well: ALA Annual Explodes with Social Media. For those non-attendees amongst you, no need to worry. ALA Annual didn’t literally explode. That might have been a fun time, though.
Supposedly, the livebloggers and tweeters and Facebookers and lord knows what else are writing about the conference, but I’m not so sure.
Amazingly, more and more presentations are projecting tweets about a program on the screen during the program, so that people will be able to see all the irrelevant natterings of the bored audience members in real time.
Or we get just the random tweets projected to everyone at the conference. Thus, we get tweets like this: “Yay! I see myself on the huge monitors displaying tweets from #ala10.” I still stand by my claim that Twitter is mostly a wasteland of vacuity and narcissism.
Some might think I’m complaining, but really I’m not. In fact, all the vacuity and narcissism makes it easier for me to ignore my surroundings as well, and that’s usually a good thing.
I’m always having to go to programs I really don’t want to attend just to show my face. A committee I’m on planned it, or a friend is speaking on the otherwise boring panel, or a section I’m in is sponsoring it. In the past, I would have sat politely through it, staring into space and trying to remember when my dinner reservations were.
Now, I can just whip out a computer or a mobile phone and pretend to be sharing my inane insights about the program with the world, while I’m really rereading the Mapp and Lucia novels I loaded onto my phone before conference. (Thank you, Gutenberg Australia!)
Thus, I join in the inevitable frivolity that ensues whenever 300 people sit together in a room all gazing at their electronic navels. It’s a good feeling. Thus, I can’t report more about ALA, because I joined the crowd and focused all my attention on my favorite subject: me.