By Friday night, there were rumors going around that I was blogging the conference, and not necessarily the academic parts. "Do you have your digital camera with you?" one blogger asked suspiciously before consenting to join me on the dance floor.
By then, I was getting used to introductions that went something like this: "Hey, do you know who this is? This is jo(e). Turn around so we can see the back of your head. See, it really is jo(e)."
But if you are all getting the impression that the Fourseas Conference is filled with frivolity – and really, I don't know where anyone would get that impression -- let me assure you that nothing could be farther from the truth. I can vouch for my blogging friends when I say that they all seemed engaged in serious academic endeavors. And I get credit for intellectual effort because I went to see Clancy do a presentation about blogging, a presentation that raised all kinds of important questions about the implications of blogging for academia. Clancy is as smart and articulate in real life as she is on the blog. So just going to her session probably raised my IQ several points.
Of course, I was so worn out from attending sessions that I took a coffee break with another blogger, Krista from Thinkery. I don't recall anything deeply intellectual that I said, and it's highly possible that I said nothing of substance, but she mentioned both Judith Butler and Michel Foucault. I mean, you don't get much more intellectual than that. And we analyzed the rhetoric and images surrounded the stereotype of redhead. And because Krista is friendly and fun, we ended up talking about some non-academic stuff as well. Perhaps the most curious thing about that coffee date is that it did not actually include coffee. See, even when two bloggers get together without their computers, some elements still remain virtual.
Some of the bloggers were so dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge that they stayed up past midnight to study the effects of music and alcohol on the discourse and rhetoric of conference participants. Deb, Marcia, Timna, and Collin get credit for interdisciplinary work since it was really a sort of scientific experiment. My deeply intellectual conversation with one blogger went something like this:
"How come you aren't joining us out on the dance floor?"
"I have to finish my beer first."
It was terrific to meet so many bloggers in person. How funny to step onto an elevator and have someone say, "Oh, I like the photo you posted yesterday." I am not used to anyone talking about my blog aloud. What a bond blogging seems to be – every time I’d run into a blogger at a session or in the lobby, it was like saying hello to a cousin or neighbor. How wonderful to hear the accents, see the faces, get the hugs.