Another note this early afternoon that I wanted to pass along to blog readers. Since my wrap-up on the C3 Spring Retreat last week, C3 Consulting Researcher Robert V. Kozinets wrote a blog entry detailing some of his experiences from the event.
A number of great people from major corporations were involved this year, including people from Fidelity Investments, Yahoo!, MTV/Viacom, and Turner Broadcasting. Industry speakers included Brian Haven from Keith Clarkson from Xenophile Media, Matt Wolf from Double Twenty Productions, Forrester Research, and Judy Walklet from Communispace. And for me, it was a thrill to meet a who's who of fan community researchers--people who were absolutely fundamental to my thesis work and who built the universe of fan studies. These included Nancy Baym, Lee Harrington, Jonathan Gray, and Jason Mittell. I also had the opportunity this year and in the past to meet some excellent new scholars in the area, whose work is sure to open up many exciting new avenues of opportunity and insight. This people include Kevin Sandler, Derek Johnson, Gail Derecho, Aswin Panathambekar, Geoff Long, Sam Ford, and Ivan Askwith. And of course it was genuine pleasure to see my friend the esteemed marketing anthropologist and consumer culture icon, Grant McCracken, whose contributions are always elegantly-phrased and thoroughly thought-provoking.
Rob goes on to provide some of the notes he took with him to the conference, some of which he presented as part of the panel on understanding audiences as communities.
In my estimation, we actually know very little about this phenomenon of online communities, online media creation, and online-inspired shifts in popular taste. That is why we need collaborations like this one--the MIT Convergence Culture Consortium's blending of corporate interest and sponsorship with that of relevant academics from around the world--to continue and intensify. We need to get grad students working with companies in projects that help them hone their learning, and contribute to companies' changing needs. We need companies to think closer about the role, availability, and presence of quality academic work. We need companies to inspire more of the types of questions that academics work on. Companies need to look at some of the wider social effects of these changes, and conceptualize how they are changing communities and society as they act. Academics need to turn to more topical, current, socially relevant questions, moving from abstract theory to actionable premises. Rather than leaving thinking about the implementation issues to others, academics needs to explore the "so what" questions themselves--investigating and answering what managers are supposed to do with their research results.