post-c&w reflections~

Reasons I love C&W: I can come here brain-dead after qualifying exams, and everyone I talk to has advice to help me better position myself between rhetoric, especially classical rhetoric, and media studies. My presentation ran a little long, about which I was slightly irritated at myself, and it wasn’t my usual posse in the audience–rather, people who may have been less familiar with 4chan and hence less understanding of the in-jokes—but the few comments I did receive were phenomenal. Someone told me he felt that he’d witnessed his own life and experience as a 4channer narrated back to him, and if I’m able to tap into the subculture that well, explaining without apologizing, then I feel like I’ve done my job.

I also feel like I have a better sense of the questions to ask, or the responses to give, when I’m asked “why rhetoric?” This may be a question I’ll struggle with for the rest of my studies, and perhaps on the job market depending on what I apply for, but I feel better knowing that I’ve at least found a starting point for thinking about it.

i’ve become a c&w groupie

I presented a paper titled “I think writing is a pretty cool guy. eh makes meaning and doesnt afraid of anything” at my first-ever Computers & Writing. My presentation was about the role of accidental grammatical errors in the selection of memes and evolution of 4chan’s dialect, and the purpose of memes perpetuating grammar mistakes.

I’ve had good conference experiences in the past, but Computers & Writing blew them all out of the water. Granted I’m easily starstruck, but this conference facilitated professional relationships, and everyone was so accepting, welcoming, and critiques occurred with warmth. I met Gail Hawisher. Cynthia Selfe(!) asked me about my research (and remembered it and me later on). I wasn’t brave enough to talk to Katherine Hayles but I did get into a debate with Tim Wu in a Q&A session and while I might have later psyched myself out, nothing about these “greats” was intimidating at all. I’ve made so many IRL and Twitter friends here, and exchanged research and advice with so many people with backgrounds as diverse as mine, if not more so. In short: this conference is love.

Also, Dan Anderson (@iamdan) is my new idol. Some day I’m going to create the way he does, because when I see his work, I can’t help but be moved with regards to pedagogy and my own personal way of being in the world.

All of which is to say that C&W has become my new home-base conference, and I will strive to present at it every year.