Classically Inclined

October 31, 2016

Livetweeting conferences – a protocol

Filed under: Meta — lizgloyn @ 1:56 pm
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This set of guidelines was originally compiled by the team of Tweeters who were planning to attend the Classical Association conference in 2014, with me basically kitten herding. The intention was to offer guidance to those new to Twitter and livetweeting, and to help them and more experienced Tweeters create a comprehensive and useful livefeed for those not attending the conference.

These guidelines originally appeared on the Classical Association blog, but because of issues with the CA’s website they are not currently available. I am taking the opportunity to repost them, and to make a few small edits to make them applicable for conferences in general. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the original #CA14 crew for their help and assistance.

The Basics

  • Always tweet using the conference hashtag. Include this in all tweets you want included in the conference feed; anyone following the hashtag will see it, and it will be used to compile an archive of the conference tweets later.
  • If you don’t know the conference hashtag, ask the organisers for one, or come up with your own – before committing to it, do check that it’s not being shared by another event.
  • Be aware that livetweeting can change the atmosphere in a room, particularly if you are attending a single track conference; it may be appropriate to tweet less and be more directly involved in conversation at smaller events.
  • If you are asked to stop livetweeting by a panel chair, a speaker or a conference attendee, please stop. Many are not comfortable with Twitter as a medium; its presence should not negatively impact the conference experience for other attendees, however positive we may feel about social media.
  • You can livetweet whatever you like about the conference – the papers, the plenaries, the social side…
  • You can tweet as little or as much as you like. A livetweeter who tweets half a dozen times over the whole conference is as important as one who tweets half a dozen times to thoroughly summarise a single paper.
  • You may find this article on livetweeting conferences in general helpful: http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2012/oct/03/ethics-live-tweeting-academic-conferences

In Panels and Plenaries

  • Always begin your tweets of a paper with the speaker’s initials, to make it clear that you are reporting their argument. If a tweet gets widely retweeted, this makes sure the right person gets intellectual credit for the idea.
  • If the speaker is on Twitter, please use their Twitter handle when livetweeting – that will let people following on Twitter connect with them if they so wish.
  • If you are giving a paper, mention your Twitter handle as you begin, or include it on your handout.
  • Remember that the goal of livetweeting a paper is for somebody who isn’t in the room to be able to follow along with the speaker’s argument.
  • You may find that sitting at the back of a room makes you feel less self-conscious about tweeting; it may also make the process less obtrusive for other attendees.
  • Please make sure that your device is on ‘silent’.
  • Please demonstrate the usual high standards of professionalism, collegiality and courtesy that are the hallmarks of classicists as a discipline – that is, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
  • It is fine to have multiple people livetweeting the same session.
  • Don’t try to livetweet your own paper. Trust us on this.
  • If anyone following along on Twitter asks a question, please feel free to ask that question of the speaker and report the answer back. However, be aware that questions from people in the room take precedence.

Outside Panels

  • Again, please demonstrate professionalism, collegiality and courtesy in everything you say.
  • Remember to ask permission before posting photographs.
  • Be mindful that people following the hashtag are interested in the academic aspects of the conference rather than what dinner looks like. Unless someone has made a scale replica of Troy in mashed potato.

August 4, 2014

On social media and impact – a reflection

Filed under: Meta — lizgloyn @ 2:30 pm
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I mentioned a while ago that I’d been asked to co-facilitate an event run by the Classical Reception Studies Network about impact and social media. Now that event has taken place, I thought I’d put a couple of thoughts down about it. The event was sort-of-livetweeted by others using the hashtag #csrn, but I don’t think any of us got around to archiving those tweets (ironic, given that one of the things we discussed was the use of Storify).

The afternoon was essentially an opportunity for people who were using social media in various ways to talk about how we used it and what platforms worked, and for people who were interested in using social media in the future or who wanted to know how they might improve their usage to learn, ask for ideas and so forth. Nobody acted as an expert, although the experiences of Emma Bridges (who moderates Classics International over on Facebook) and myself provided a starting-off point for discussions.  I have to admit that my decision to come onto various social media platforms was horribly calculated – my very first post provided a rationale for why I was doing this, although as my post a year later showed, my manifesto shifted and indeed continues to shift depending on how much energy I’ve got spare. Before I got onto Twitter I even (horror of horrors) got out a book from the university library about how to manage one’s brand on-line to work out what I was doing. But oddly enough, that deliberate approach has saved me from a lot of the pitfalls and confusions that I’ve encountered on other platforms, like Facebook (which I got onto because some old students told me I really should be, and now is an odd space full of friends, family, old students and senior colleagues). This sense of needing to work out boundaries and what you are actually doing was something everyone shared – having a clear aim definitely seemed to work better than just sort of hoping.

Another point that came up was the importance of accepting that you can’t control the internet – there’s no point in defining success in metrics about how many people  read or engage with things, because online space can’t be controlled in that way. (See, for instance, the fact that the post with the most hits on here is about writing a thesis introduction, not anything to do with my research or teaching.) Another point that emerged in the conversation was about community – many people commented on how good it was to speak to others in the field, build networks with people in other countries, and cross the interdisciplinary boundaries through the more informal engagement possible on something like Twitter.

I learned things myself – for instance, Silvie Kilgallon gave us a great explanation of how Tumblr works through her various sites, including the Stitched Iliad project and Aristotelian Complacency. I now understand how Tumblr functions, although I have to admit that it’s not for me – it doesn’t really fit with what I’m doing or how I tend to communicate my work. But this was another important thing that I wanted to say, and I think did get said, which was that there wasn’t any point in Doing Stuff on social media unless it worked for you. In the days of graduate training enthusiastically telling every graduate to set up a blog, I think it’s worth pausing to ask why you are doing these things and what it achieves. Without a clear sense of what you are about, it becomes very easy to lose focus and thus lose motivation. And, as we all agreed, there’s nothing sadder than discovering a dead blog that hasn’t been updated in months with no farewell post.

The final important point that came out of the workshop was that social media has a particularly helpful role to play when it comes to classical reception studies. Those of us (like me) who talk a lot about books, films and other forms of cultural production can reach out to the people consuming this material, and indeed in some cases to the people producing it. That means our scholarship has the chance of reaching beyond the walls of the academy and to a general interest audience – some of whom will be reading this post now. And if you are, thank you. Having the chance to talk about my research and my general thoughts about the subject I love to people who aren’t colleagues or students is precious, and I’m glad that you all stick around to listen.

There is an official report on the workshop written by Carol Atack available in PDF form.

Edit: We also seem to have spawned a blog.

April 4, 2014

Teaching at Royal Holloway – a reflection

Term finished at Royal Holloway at the end of March; I’ve now had enough time to catch my breath and finish off all the odds and ends from my teaching, so I can look back over how the year’s teaching has gone. Of course, I’ve still got the marking of exam season to come – precisely when will depend on whether the marking boycott called by UCU as part of the current pay dispute goes ahead. That issue sadly highlights a problem in teaching – there’s more to the process than just the mark that you get in the exam at the end, and when that becomes fetishized as the only valuable outcome of the university experience, we’re doing something wrong. Plashing Vole has written about these issues far more intelligently than I can, so I suggest you read him on them while I think a bit about my first year of teaching in a new institution.

It’s been a heavy teaching load this year, with three and a half units (which is effectively the same as teaching four units in the second term). The first term was manageable, as the three language courses were mainly intensive in the hour of teaching scheduled rather than in the preparation – after all, once you’ve selected an unseen passage and put together the handout, there’s not really much more you can do until you’re in the classroom. However, the second term added a new lecture course to the mix, and that meant I had to prepare two hours of fresh lecture each week on top of nine hours of language teaching. That took a lot of effort, and left me with little time for anything else. On the plus side, I’ll be reusing my prep for Intermediate Latin and the lecture course next year, so it’s work well invested. A few thoughts come to mind about each course.

(more…)

February 13, 2014

CRSN workshop: Impact and social media, London, 17 July 2014

Filed under: Out and about — lizgloyn @ 1:32 pm
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Exciting stuff for Classically Inclined – I’ve been asked to take part in a Classical Reception Studies Network workshop on impact and social media! The details are as follows:

CRSN workshop: Impact and social media, 17 July 2014,

Location: The Open University London Regional Centre, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London NW1 8NP Venue directions and map
Time: 2-5 pm

Classical receptions would seem ideally placed to engage with the current ‘impact agenda’ in UK research funding. Grant application forms include questions about ‘pathways to impact’ and applicants often include some form of social media in their responses. We invite doctoral students and early career researchers to come and share their experiences of using blogging, Facebook and twitter to disseminate their research, create networks and promote their work. Whether you already use social media or are simply wondering if there is any point, this workshop is for you. While we’ll have some experienced users with us (including Emma Bridges, founder of the Facebook page Classics International, and Liz Gloyn, who blogs as ‘Classically Inclined’), the main focus will be on sharing our enthusiasms, our suggestions and our reservations. Spaces are limited; please reply to helen.king@open.ac.uk.

Obviously I’m delighted to be asked to participate in the workshop, not least as I think things like blogging and Twitter are valuable ways for classicists to get outside their departments and share some of the awesome stuff we do with other people. It should be an interesting afternoon. Of course, I should probably make sure I mention that the frequency of my blogging is not entirely unrelated to how much teaching prep  I have on at any given week – speaking of which, back to the grindstone…

 

August 22, 2013

History Down the Pub: London, August 28th

Filed under: Out and about — lizgloyn @ 9:09 am
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So, apparently thanks to Twitter I’m now vaguely associated with organising this sort of thing… do come along if you’re free, and pass details on to interested friends! Original announcement here.

Harvey Quamen: Using Digital Humanities Techniques to Study the History of Beer and Brewing

Three major questions—all difficult to answer—prompt this talk:

  1. what caused the sudden demise of porter around 1820?
  2. how did the style called India Pale Ale spread so rapidly?
  3. can we locate the historical London breweries?

Although surrounded in some mystery, these questions might be answerable using some techniques from the digital humanities. In particular, building a database of historical recipes will help us understand the movement and growth of beer styles (especially as those styles moved through homebrewing) and we can begin to track master-apprenticeship relationships with the use of propopographies, databases that serve as “collective biographies” of groups of people. Finally, using historical maps (like the Agas map digitized at the Map of Early Modern London project), we might begin to reconstruct the historical distribution of beer around the capital.

Harvey Quamen is an Associate Professor of English and Humanities Computing at the University of Alberta, Canada. A longtime homebrewer, Quamen spent the 2009 academic year as a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College, London. Drinking with KCL and UCL friends began his foggily remembered interest in the history of London brewing.

This lecture is the inaugural event of the History Down the Pub series, and will be held in the Plough, 27 Museum Street, London (opposite the British Museum: see https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=WC1A+1LH), at 6pm on Wednesday August 28th 2013.
All welcome.

May 14, 2013

#ECRchat – Managing Career Expectations

Filed under: Meta — lizgloyn @ 10:17 am
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The #ECRchat that I hosted last week started off with a poll full of options about professional development for the early career researcher, and it ended in a tie for topics, which I don’t think has ever happened before! As I’d done more thought about managing career expectations, we went with that; learning and developing leadership skills will be the topic of a future chat.

Managing career expectations was a topic I wanted to look at because there is often a tendency for ECRs to think about this as an internally-focused process, where one adjusts one’s own expectations of what might happen in the future. However, in the business world, managing expectations is all about how you relate to other people, both customers and colleagues, rather than some kind of self-policing mechanism. I wanted to see what happened if we applied this idea to the ECR sphere, whether it could be helpful for us to think with, and what insights considering the idea of managing expectations would generate.

We started the chat by thinking about what managing expectations is, and where those expectations come from. The idea of the disconnect between the ideal and the reality felt like a central part of this, as did the way that expectation gaps create disappointment. People felt there was a fine balance between aiming high and accepting the realities of one’s situation – including, perhaps, that certain things just wouldn’t work for you as an individual. Digging a bit deeper, we identified plenty of places where expectations come from – the job specification, your department, your university, disciplinary norms, ourselves, our families, the norms of (senior) colleagues, search committees, your PhD supervisor, funding bodies, and students. Being aware that expectations sometimes come from outside, and that this means we have the power to decide whether we want to sign up to them, seemed an important take-home point here.

After thinking about where expectations come from, we considered how we might find out what those expectations are before it’s too late to engage with them. There were lots of possibilities – considering the needs of the stakeholders in your projects, for example, or talking to colleagues to work out how the expectations of you on paper might play out in practice. The key message which came from this section of the chat was the importance of communication to make sure that you knew what people were after, and could adjust your behaviour accordingly. This also held true when we thought about how to go about managing those expectations – honesty, clarity, straightforwardness and a dose of humour seemed the sensible way to go! Participants also flagged up the importance of being willing to say ‘no’ if an expectation was genuinely at odds with other things which also needed doing. It felt as if some personal thought was needed here too, to work out what your career priorities were and how they fitted into the expectations of the institution, so you could balance the two accordingly – but it felt very difficult to make a satisfying plan without knowing the shape of all these jigsaw pieces.

We closed by thinking about how we might use expectations for our advantage rather than as coercion. Some suggestions including making sure that we know expectations so we can show how we are meeting them during performance reviews; using them to gain opportunities that might not otherwise be available; making them a tool to point out where your potential isn’t being fully developed or used; and using them as part of the networking process to discover more about your field and what’s going on in it.

If you’d like to read more from the chat, the Storified tweets are here.

Crossposted at the #ECRchat blog.

May 6, 2013

Hosting #ECRchat

Filed under: Meta — lizgloyn @ 10:00 pm
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I’m looking forward to hosting another edition of #ECRchat on Twitter later this week! As usual, the chat will take place on Thursday at 11am UK time and will last an hour.  All you need to do to take part is follow the hash tag! If you haven’t come across #ECRchat before, there’s plenty of information on the website. You can also vote in the poll to decide what the topic of the chat will be – the topics this week all look at aspects of professional development for the early career researcher. I hope you can join us!

 

March 8, 2013

International Women’s Day

Filed under: Out and about — lizgloyn @ 9:44 am
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Today is International Women’s Day, so it’s a year since I set up the Classicist Women on Twitter list!

The list has steadily grown over that year, and now numbers 86 members with a curated Twitter list for people to follow directly. The list has had 554 views since it was posted, and has continued to get a good amount of traffic over the year.

So I thought now would be as good a time as any for a signal boost! Are you a female classicist who is on Twitter who is not on the list, or do you know one? Please let me know, and I’ll update the list. I should note that my definition of ‘classics’ is very, very broad – if you self-identify as a classicist in any way and at any level of expertise, you are very welcome.

January 10, 2013

Age asymmetric marriage in ancient Rome

Filed under: Teaching — lizgloyn @ 9:09 am
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Those of you who follow me on Twitter will have spotted, just before the new year, an unscientific poll I undertook about what the average age difference between partners was among my followers’ peer groups; I asked the same question on Facebook as well. I was curious whether my perception of differences in ages was accurate – I had thought that most of my friends were within a five year gap, but Geoff countered that he thought among our peer group the difference was narrower, more like two years. What better way to check than to ask the internet?

The responses were quite interesting, not least because some people offered their thoughts about why the age gap looked like it did. In general, my sense that gaps of two, three and four years were most common seemed to be borne out, although more people than I was expecting said they felt the average among their peer group was a year or two years. People identified outliers (fifteen or twenty years difference), but tended to label them as outside the norm, either within the peer group or usual social patterns. Most people who offered suggestions about why this might be thought that socialisation had a lot to do with it – people had met partners at university, or alternatively had met through their university friends’ wider networks which tended to be roughly age-equivalent, hence the prevalence of one and two year gaps.

So why was this on my mind? Because of the Roman Life Course class I am teaching today, looking at age asymmetrical marriage in the Roman world. I’ve asked students to look through one of Plutarch’s Lives and think about what features of the life course can be traced through it; the class this evening will focus on what we can pick out about their marital habits from the texts. I spent most of my Christmas and New Year working through the Lives in question myself, and tracing the marital histories of Antony, Cicero and Pompey. Pompey is the particularly interesting example; he married five times, prolific even in a society that structured itself to encourage remarriage wherever possible. His early marriages appear to be fairly age-equal as far as these things go – for instance, his second wife (Sulla’s stepdaughter) would have been about eighteen and he would have been about 24 when they married, which is a bit wider than we’d normally see now but not unheard of.

However, his fourth and fifth marriages show a really interesting shift in perception. His fourth wife was Julia, the daughter of Julius Caesar; she was about 24 and he was about 47, so there was a 23 year difference. Plutarch comments on Pompey dedicating himself to his young wife and being distracted from the political life of the state, but the impression is that this age gap at this stage is not unusual and other men have found themselves in the same situation. However, it’s a different story with his fifth wife, Cornelia Metella – while he’s about 55 when they marry, she’s only 21, making a whopping 34 years difference. Plutarch snidely observes that she would have been a more appropriate wife for a son of Pompey than for Pompey himself, suggesting that this time he’s gone just that bit too far in crossing the age boundary. The Romans can cope with a wide age difference, but there are limits; Pompey’s case demonstrates roughly where the unseen boundaries of acceptability lie.

November 19, 2012

Hosting #ECRchat

Filed under: Meta — lizgloyn @ 5:02 pm
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I’m delighted to say that I’m going to be hosting #ECRchat on Twitter again this week! As usual, the chat will take place on this Thursday at 10am UK time and will last an hour. All you need to do to take part is follow the hash tag! If you haven’t come across #ECRchat before, there’s plenty of information on the website. You can also vote in the poll to decide what the topic of the chat will be – this week’s theme is ‘early career researchers and families’. I hope you can join us!

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