Welcome to IR 12.0 and Seattle!
It’s my pleasure to welcome you to the twelfth annual conference of the Association of Internet Researchers. Everyone involved has worked hard to ensure your experience is top notch in all regards—an excellent program, a great location, inspiring keynote speakers, and wonderful colleagues.
Coming to AoIR is like coming home for me. Even if the location shifts, I see familiar faces, and catch up with friends and colleagues on what’s happened in the past year. I also enjoy meeting new scholars, both those new to Internet studies and those attending AoIR for the first time. I think AoIR and IR bring together the best of all academic worlds—a smaller group of attendees, an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars, and cutting edge research. Because we’re not a traditional disciplinary association’s conference, we are unhampered by divisions and massing crowds, allowing us to see more of one another, in sessions as well as in the halls, before and after the official day’s programming. I firmly believe those connections and meetings contribute key elements to what we do and how we think. So much of my own work has been informed not only by presentations I’ve heard at AoIR conferences, but by the many conversations and debates I’ve engaged in during roundtables, panels, dinners and coffee breaks. AoIR is a place where scholars can network, connect, and think deeply about their work. I see its value every day in the articles, books, connections and popular writing that has its origins at AoIR conferences.
Of course facilitating that output is enjoyable, but also hard work. This year we had another excellent team working to bring you the program and local venue. Lori Kendall did an outstanding job as Program Chair, ensuring we have (too) many good sessions to choose from, as well as stimulating panels, roundtables, and keynote speakers. Karine Nahon, our Local Chair, has worked with a team of organizers to bring you to Seattle, where we can coalesce as a community for several wonderful days. Members of the AoIR Executive Committee that went above and beyond in terms of conference planning include Vice President Alex Halavais, Treasurer Michael Zimmer, and Secretary Catherine Middleton. Alex also convinced us to try the IGNITE format this year, an intriguing method for presenting research and argument.
This is my final year as President of AoIR, and I have truly enjoyed the experience. AoIR has given me so much, I hope my service back to the organization has helped in a small way to return that favor. In closing I’d like to thank the rest of the executive committee, including Charles Ess, Holly Kruse, Gordon Carlson, Elizabeth Buchanan, Ted Coopman, and Suely Fragoso for their dedication to AoIR as well. And thanks to all of you for continuing to attend and contribute, and make AoIR my favorite conference to participate in, every single year.