It is time to figure out when and where the bloggers’ gathering at this year’s joint meeting of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature in Denver should occur. It seems as though our schedules are fuller and fuller even into the evenings, and I know that some of those who’d wish to attend are graduate students and independent scholars without funding for food and beverages (or even for the cost of being at the conference). And so my instinct is to think that we should arrange to gather at a publisher’s reception, one that most or all of us would be likely to attend anyway, where people can come and go and mingle freely while there. Several publishers have sought to attend the bloggers’ dinner in past years, because publishers like to connect with bloggers in an effort to have their books reviewed and promoted on social media. But just as a sit-down dinner is not an ideal setting for reconnecting with other bloggers (other than the ones that happen to be sitting near you), so too for publishers who want to connect with us.
I also think that the event should be more broadly open. Just as I have tried to get more AAR bloggers to join the “bibliobloggers” from SBL, I think that podcasters and others who represent scholarship on social media should be welcome.
Which leads to a question: Is “Social Mediators” the way one refers broadly to those who engage actively with (and more importantly, with other human beings through) social media? If not (yet), do you think it should be? Should we dub this event the AAR/SBL Social Mediators’ gathering? If not, what comparably inclusive terminology would you recommend instead?
That was the easy part, comparatively speaking. Here’s the real challenge: when and where shall we meet up? Make your suggestions and let’s get the conversation about this started. If no one day and time works well for all, I think it is fine if subsets of us gather separately – especially if they are at least partially overlapping subsets who can pass along greetings from one gathering to the next.
On a related note, some of us who are gamers (and/or gamifiers) have talked about having a mini “con” in conjunction with AAR/SBL. I think it should be called AARCon because that is a nice religion pun, plus for Star Trek fans it can be doubly punny when we talk about the “Return of the AARCon.”
Whenever and wherever we arrange for it to happen, though, I look forward to seeing members of the biblioblog crowd and other religion social mediators in Denver next month!
Now back to working on my conference papers…