A list of my conferencing ethics.

I am going to brainfart a list of my conferencing ethics:

1) Shout out work of early career scholars.

2) If you see an early career researcher struggling to connect with a senior scholar whom you already know, broker the introduction.

3) Make friends with the conference virgins who are attending for the first time.

4) If there are folks awkwardly lurking in your physical orbit, make space to welcome them into the social setting.

5) When awkwardly standing in line for meals or the toilet, make human, non-work, phatic conversation if the vibe is right for comfort.

6) If you need to truncate a conversation and run off, don’t patronizingly say you’ll “catch up”. Earmark a next opportunity and swap contacts.

7) If a mansplainer is hijacking a conversation or Q&A, intervene but redirect the conversational space back to the original speaker.

8) Introduce folks with similar dietary habits to each other so they have company for specific meal scouts.

9) Smell out the stragglers, strays, lost and invite them to join your group/friends during meals/breaks.

10) If you are jobbed and can afford it, offer to get occasional drinks for early career researchers. It fosters intergenerational generosity.

11) Create backchannels to check in with each other. Swap R&R locations so folks who need a rest/pitstop have company.

12) If your academic friend has brought their non-acad partner along for socials, get to know them as human persons and not just do work talk.

13) Check in with each other after a night out. Ensure everyone has at least a friend looking out for them. Beep when you get home safely.

14) Take care of each other. We are all experiencing multiple feelings at once. Conference bravado and posturing is tiring. Be human.

15) Foster and protect your conference camaraderie.

Okay goodnight 🐧😴

Talks in October 2017.

Moshimoshi folks!

How are you doing? It’s that time of the year where All The Good Things are happening. I’m going to be talk-marathoning (6 talks at 4 events) for the next two weeks before I head back to my glorious sunny Perth end-October. If you’re interested, here’s where I’ll be and what I’ll be up to. If you are in the area, it would be cool to casually bump into each other and hide away over hot chocolate and icecream.

See you when I see you!

Continue reading Talks in October 2017.

Confessions from a young woman academic in five parts:


I wrote this some time ago in the past when I was feeling particularly vulnerable and helpless in my career. I should add that I am glad and grateful that these incidents did not take place at the institution at which I am based, and that I have mostly recovered from these experiences – so please don’t worry over me.

When I first shared these thoughts on a private platform among my personal friends, their reactions fell into four categories:

Some friends sent me affirmation and comfort, which made me feel that my friends were listening and cared for me.

Some friends commiserated with me and called out the situations for what they were – appropriation, exploitation, bullying – which was helpful in acknowledging the complex power relations at play.

Some friends who were in positions of authority to mentor others or to shape workplace practices indicated that such behaviour was not acceptable, which gave me hope in wanting to work with the right people to foster better academic culture.

Some friends recognized my effort in pushing back against the unruly demands of academia and encouraged me to press on. One friend wrote not to “give myself” to these people who will “suck you dry and leave your soul in the dust”, and another friend acknowledged my writing as “what good boundary-setting looks like”. I genuinely appreciated this support because they did not tell me to work harder to fix the situation, to be more aggressive and fend more for myself, or to internalize the blame as mine in any way. Instead, they highlighted the toxicity of academia which made me feel that the bad feelings I carried were valid and not trivial.

I felt really encouraged by these friends who were propping me up through a difficult lull at the confluence of several events. I was also grateful for all the generosity and care from the editors to whom I owed overdue work, for understanding my various commotions and giving me space and time. As I am about to take off for two weeks to conference-hop and give talks about research I am super passionate about and reunite with my most favourite people in the entire world in brand new cities I am excited to explore during our down time together (phew, breathe), I also want to acknowledge that academia isn’t always pretty.

I am now sharing this piece of writing in the public space of my blog as a public archive of underrepresented feelings that are usually taboo to publicly discuss in academia. Here goes.

Continue reading Confessions from a young woman academic in five parts:

Traveling academics and the guilt from crises at home.

It is 2203hrs and I have urgent tasks to complete and a long soothing shower to take and half a Hiroshi Shinagawa film to complete and an apple to eat, but I cannot concentrate on any of these until I empty my insides here in a bid to reorder myself.

Tonight I am feeling quite helpless with being so far away from my home and my house and my person and all the people and places and things that I love very much.

There are many opportunity costs to pursuing a career in academia. I’ve made a list of these that I would like to write about as part of my PhD hacks, but tonight I want to write about how traveling alone frequently and for long periods for work (much less traveling alone as a young woman generally) can be really agonizing.

Continue reading Traveling academics and the guilt from crises at home.

How social media videos turn children into viral sensations

Moshimoshi folks!

I’m thrilled to share this radio interview featuring my colleague Tama Leaver and I speaking with ABC RN Life Matters on young children in viral social media videos.

In this segment, we discuss the rise of viral videos starring very young children, how they are being co-opted into TV talk shows (i.e. The Ellen DeGeneres Show), and how parents (unwittingly or deliberately) play a part in such sensational celebrity.

You can listen to the interview here.

Tama and I will be co-presenting our full paper on this phenomenon, “From YouTube to TV, and Back Again: Viral Video Child Stars and Media Flows in the Era of Social Media” at the Digitising Early Childhood International Conference in Perth happening this week. Read some conference spotlights here and follow along on Twitter at #digikids17.

See also my 5min Snapchat lecture on young children in viral social media videos here.

If you are interested, here is some further reading on my work on young children in the age of internet celebrity:

Abidin, Crystal. 2017. “#familygoals: Family Influencers, Calibrated Amateurism, and Justifying Young Digital Labour.” Social Media + Society 3(2): 1-15. DOI: 10.1177/2056305117707191 <Link | PDF>

Abidin, Crystal. 2015. “Micromicrocelebrity: Branding babies on the Internet.” M/C Journal 18(5)<Link | PDF>

“When exploiting kids for cash goes wrong on YouTube: the lessons of DaddyOFive.” The Conversation, 2 May 2017. <Link>

“Micro-microcelebrity: famous babies and business on the internet.” Parenting for a Digital Future, LSE Blogs, 20 January 2017. <Link>

“New’s kid on the blog.” The New Paper, 9 January 2011. <Link>

If you work in similar areas or would like to chat about these works, please feel free to get in touch!