Pick me! Pick me!

I have submitted a proposal for a panel at South By South West (SXSW) on Cyber Anthropology. I need your support in voting and comments in order to be further considered and hopefully chosen.

Here is the short abstract:

Online culture is becoming ever pervasive in its effects on the offline world. This panel will bring attention to the study of online culture and its purpose, use and effectiveness. Topics covered will be the Internets influence on gaming, community, education, media, marketing, politics, and family.

Extending that excerpt it is my goal to show how anthropology can help us understand the cultural changes that are rapidly taking place online and specifically how to use anthropological methods, theory, and practice in order to discern the meaning and importance behind the motives that not only bring together, but also sustain online communities.

I aim to use the following topics as ways in which to show how focusing an anthropological lens on the Internet is not only useful but necessary as what happens online also directly influences our lives even when we are unplugged.

  • How massively multiplayer online role playing games have brought an entirely new dimension to gaming and what that means for gaming as we look to the future
  • Ways in which offline communities are extending their reach via the Internet
  • The reasons why the Internet should be utilized extensively in the classroom and the possible outcomes if it is not. This topic also touches on the digital divide as it pertains to school age children and their future in a digitally influenced world.
  • A look at how people use the Internet to share information, experiences and collaborate online – community thinking and learning versus a singular approach (we are no longer thinking and learning alone and there is no reason why we should be)
  • A view of marketing online not only from an anthropological perspective, but also from someone who has experience in the field as an information architect. What works, what doesn’t and why from a consumer/user rather than a product perspective.
  • How the Internet with its instant access to news as it happens as well as its replayability is influencing how people interact and are influenced by politics in the US during this election year.
  • A consideration of how the Internet has influenced family dynamics in the US from closing the distance gap to a parents role in the protection of children online.

I want to ultimately share that cyber anthropology is more than ethnography or simply a means of looking for ways to monetize communities. I want to show that yes there is a burgeoning culture developing completely online and that it is soon to become larger than any single other culture in existence. Already our laws, language, beliefs, artifacts, and interactions with others are changing because of this. It is my goal to study and share the hows and whys.

It is for these reasons that I did not list my topic under communities and rather under human and social issues. However, I am afraid I am being overlooked because of this choice. I am passionate about these topics and am excited to be even considered and placed on the panel picker. I ask that you help me share my enthusiasm and vote for me.

p.s. If you have an idea that you think would be beneficial to cover let me know! I am always looking for new perspectives to how and what to study in the realm of cyber anthropology. The benefit of this field is not only that it is rapidly changing, but also that there is so much to it.


  1. safaa

    Good Luck and please keep up us updated…

  2. Fazia Rizvi

    I’ll vote for you! Actually, if you’re looking for fellow panelists, I’d like to volunteer. I’m a graduate student of anthropology looking at exactly this – cyberculture. (Trying to show that what people are observing in popular areas of research now – like virtual worlds and Facebook – had a history and precedent in the early 1990s.) I’m in the Austin area.

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