April 28, 2006
The Morning's Sessions Here at the C3 Conference

We are currently engaged in an in-depth discussion of teasing out particular issues of media convergence this morning and have just broken for lunch. And the morning's sessions has provided a lot of food for thought that people are mulling over while consuming their actual foodright now. Our four speakers this morning have provoked a lot of discussion, both from the academics gathered here today and the folks from Turner Broadcasting and GSD&M who are visiting today, as well as the C3 team.

We began the morning with a great discussion of Web 2.0 by Shenja van der Graaf. Shenja, an associated academic member of the Convergence Culture Consortium currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the London School of Economics, is examining the shift, both culturally and technically, in the way the Web is utilized and what it means for the current media climate.

Anthropologist Grant McCracken, another member of C3 and one of our most active off-campus asscoiated faculty members, engaged everyone in an in-depth discussion of the history of the concept of entertainment and its current fate today. His discussion merged his very conceptual analysis of the very idea of entertainment with a business-focused "where are we now?" question that turned into a great conversation with both the academic and industry communities in the room.

Recent MIT Media Lab graduate and new Comparative Media Studies post-doc Hugo Liu, who will be engaging in work with C3 in the future, made a fascinating presentation about using tools to filter, recommend, examine, and organize cultural and social preferences. Considering the endless amount of content online, the way these tools allow us or could allow us to navigate, interpret, and come to develop an undersatnding of what's going on is a rich area to think about as we move into an unparalleled age of information online, thinking back to Shenja's presentation earlier in the day.

Finally, John Edward Campbell presented on his in-depth work of online gay communities and understanding these forums as a forum for political discourse. His work looks at how these sites bring to the forefront debates about free speech, concern for liability for sites hosting these debates, and the divide between consumer and citizen on online sites.

While the power of this week's retreat seems to be the intimate discussion we are having here while brainstorming as a team, and a lot of the content of those discussions aren't available for public consumption because much of the research we do is specific to the interests of our faculty and corporate partners, I feel that the general theme of these presentations and the discussion is very much open for public debate by all of you that follow this branch of C3. And, for those of you who are here at the conference who read this, feel free to comment on or complicate what I have taken away from the morning's presentations.