Dan Scherlis

Health Games, Info Security, User Experience, Linguistics

Tomorrow: Speaking at Harvard Business School’s Cyberposium

Posted by scherlis on November 20, 2009

Hey! I have a blog. ( I wonder if this thing still works?)  I’ll (re-)start with a personal note: I’m moderating a panel tomorrow (Saturday) at Harvard Business School’s Cyberposium 15 conference.

I’m delighted with our session’s focus: Where Gaming and Social Identity Collide. We’ll look at social games (and what I still call “community-based games”), how they overlap with other social media, and the implications for other industries. The panelists are a great balance, bringing backgrounds in product-development, academic, marketing, publishing (digital and old-school), and creative.

Cyberposium draws an interesting mix of industry and finance executives, along with the predictable MBA-student crowd. The conference’s annual themes have addressed different aspects of digital (generally Internet) technology.

I’ll use this space to publish some links that we wind up promising the crowd.  That will surely include some industry references and news sources, especially for social games.

Linguistically, I’ll acknowledge that the name does have a distinctly mid-1990’s ring to it. That’s only fair: this is Cyberposium 15, after all; it started in 1995. But “cyber” does seem increasingly marked, if only to judge by the increasingly snarky reactions it seems to draw.  That said, it remains productive. Arnold Zwicky, in a recent roundup of portmanteau words, cited cyberchrondria, and cyberteria. I’ve no idea how he missed cyberposium.

Adding: Of course I was joking.  There’s no reason why any linguist, not to mention a Stanford linguist, would be aware of a small (if excellent) high-tech conference at Harvard’s Business School.

And by the way, anyone curious of language should enjoy this favorite of mine: Prof. Zwicky’s 1980 booklet, Mistakes. Although intended for his linguistics class, the assumptions it makes about your preparation are, as he says, “modest.”  And how many academic notes draw their examples from Grouch, cummings, Perlman, and railway graffiti?  (I’m using note in the HBS sense:  a supplementary teaching document that might run to 40 or 60 pages.)

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One Response to “Tomorrow: Speaking at Harvard Business School’s Cyberposium”

  1. Dan Scherlis: “Arnold Zwicky, in a recent roundup of portmanteau words, cited cyberchrondria, and cyberteria. I’ve no idea how he missed cyberposium.”

    I’m really hoping that this is tongue-in-cheek. I never proposed to do a “roundup” of portmanteau words, only (as I clearly said) to mention a few that had recently caught my attention. I certainly never proposed to inventory all the cyber- words out there, though I was ok with people mentioning some of their favorites.

    As I’ve said many times in the past, when I mention some phenomenon and give some examples, I’m never proposing to inventory all the examples of the phenomenon there are in the world, and I resent being called to task for having “missed” some particular example a reader is fond of, as if I had failed in my appointed task.

    DRS: Good lord, no! And I’m distressed if I’ve vexed you, Professor Zwicky, whom I greatly respect as one of the most lucid and engaging writers about language. My “critique” was indeed tongue-in-cheek, even if I failed to make that clear. But then again, it’s probably not going to be clear to anyone that even Harvard folk can be self-aware that their local events are undeniably local. (I can’t imagine why you might know of the Cyberposium, or how you might hope to google it up.)

    I suggest that there’s a form of faux-criticism — minor comments on immaterial implications in a professor’s work, say — that is pragmatically less an actual substantive assault on a work than a kind of nerdly grooming ritual. You might take a comment literally enough to be irritated, whereas the student is merely trying to show respect in the form of noticing a mite, or perhaps hoping to take satisfaction by participating — if tangentially and superficially — in the sort of interactions that he associates with the silverbacks. Of course, there’s always a risk of getting an annoyed swat from the silverback, but it can come as a surprise. (I could give you two or three examples from your blog or from Language Log where this happened.)

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