Transforming Audiences – What’s the Fuss About Facebook

I’ve managed to get away from Leicester for a few days to attend the Transforming Audiences 3 conference, organised by David Gauntlet at the University of Westminster. Thursday was a full-on day of lectures, presentations, discussions over coffee and then later a few more beers that was probably wise.

Catching up with Guy Starkey is always a pleasure, and he has promised to introduce me to some of his research activities that he’s part of. Guy was very kind about the presentation that I gave. I was somewhat nervous delivering the paper, as the conference is full of sharp media thinkers who have probably forgotten more about ethnography and research methods than I know in total.

I also made friends with a young Canadian researcher, Lee McGuigan, who had funded himself to come over from London, Ontario, to London, England. While I’m not a big fan of political economy, his observations about the use of interactive television as a commercial tool was sharp and well delivered. We ended up chatting over dinner about European and American politics, and shared a disdain for the neo-con agenda that seems so dominant around the world at the moment. Lee turns out to be partial to a pint of stout, and his introduction to London pubs went smoothly.

So I didn’t get back to my hotel (the Premier Inn opposite Euston Station) until after midnight. I didn’t think that I had drunk that much, but my hangover this morning was testament to the fact that I’d had one or two more than I should have. But being out with conference delegates from Finland, Denmark and Canada was very refreshing. Now I just have to ease myself into the sessions on offer today and see if I can make a reasoned, constructive and helpful contribution to the debate.

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