Andromeda Yelton

Across Divided Networks

Why I’m on Team Courtney for the ALA Elections (and other endorsements)

March 7th, 2013 · Uncategorized

ALA elections are March 19 through April 26 via email. 1 I’m endorsing Courtney Young for ALA President. Here’s why.

  • Courtney’s been extremely involved with ALA governance at many levels, most notably ALA Executive Board and the Budget Analysis & Review Committee. 2 This means that she knows the major, high-level issues facing ALA, and how things work. The President’s term is short, which means she doesn’t have time for a learning curve. Courtney already has the expertise and network to get things done during that short window in office.
  • Part of Courtney’s platform is diversity. This is an important issue to me, too, and to the LITA Forum committee I’m on. When I’ve asked her for help with diversity questions, she’s followed up quickly with advice and concrete help. I appreciate that she backs up her platform with action, and that she gets that sometimes the most important part of leadership is just being responsive.
  • As a LITA member, I want a President who understands technology issues. Courtney spoke articulately to the LITA board at Midwinter, fielding their questions in a way which showed she is familiar with LITA’s concerns. (And why not? She’s a LITA member, too.)
  • I had this great conversation with Courtney once, just because Foursquare told me we happened to be in the same hotel. She’s not too busy or too special to sit down for a random chat (even though she is pretty busy and special!). She’s friendly, approachable, and relatable. She’s a teacher, a military brat, a nerd, a fashionista, and a football fanatic, which is to say, it doesn’t matter who you are; there’s something about Courtney you can connect with.

As long as I’m endorsing people, here’s who I’m voting for Council, too.

  • My pals from the Think Tank slate: John Jackson, Kate Kosturski, Chris Kyauk, Coral Sheldon-Hess, and Patrick Sweeney. They have divergent personalities and styles, but they’re all smart, interesting people who do things and who care.
  • Peggy Cadigan, a fun person doing neat stuff in New Jersey.
  • Maria Taesil Hudson Carpenter, the new(ish) director of my local public library, which has been doing a lot of good things since she came on board. I’m happy to see her on the ballot.
  • Loida Garcia-Febo (is there anyone who isn’t impressed by Loida?)
  • Lauren Pressley, thoughtful, strategy-minded, LITA Board member; as far as I can tell everybody likes her. Plus which she’s got this unglued ebook
  • I will also be seriously considering the rest of the Think Tank caucus, all the Emerging Leaders, and Martin Garnar, all people I’ve heard good things about.

There’s a gigantic pdf where you can read all the Councilor candidates’ bios and statements

I would love to hear who else I should vote for and why!


I am of course also deeply interested in the outcome of the LITA Board elections, but as I’m running I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to endorse anyone. I think the nominating committee put forth a solid slate of qualified candidates and LITAns are likely to be happy with the outcome whatever it is — but I still encourage you to read up on everyone and make an informed choice!

Notes:

  1. Eligible voters should have already received a test email. Ballots will be mailed over a 48-hour period, starting at 9am Central on the 19th. I don’t see any indication of what you should do if you haven’t received your test email, but people requesting a paper ballot are directed to ALA customer service at 1-800-545-2433, ext . 5, so I’d start there.
  2. By the way, BARC meetings are super fascinating and you should go. Exploit ALA’s open meetings policy to its fullest!

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dim light under the panopticon (thinking about Aaron Swartz)

March 4th, 2013 · Uncategorized

I have been reading this New Yorker article on Aaron Swartz, which is quite justly making the rounds of the internet this morning. And of all the threads that twine through it and around me and make me think, the one I want to talk about is this: context.

It jumps out at me, over and over, that what Aaron Swartz did in a data closet at MIT was not merely licit in his local social context, but was outright condoned by its norms. The sort of thing people laugh and wink about, or even give you social capital for. Had his actions stayed in their context they would have passed silently away, maybe even been a good story to tell at parties. It must have been breathtaking when they proved to exist outside that context. When strangers’ norms applied. When some other context claimed jurisdiction, and pushed back.

Of course we have all had times when actions or remarks we performed in, and for, one social context leaked to another, where they were not received as our intended audience would receive them, where someone pushed back. And I suspect the more disenfranchised you are, the more you find yourself having to exist simultaneously in multiple social contexts, to live in or look for the Venn-diagram space you can navigate among them.

But I think, too, this is one of the fundamental conditions of the digital age, an accelerant we’re not, as humans, cognitively equipped for. We all, insofar as we live out loud, live in multiple contexts now. And they are contexts we do not know; contexts removed from us by space or time or social boundaries. Our actions can be taken from our contexts in ways we did not even know existed, can resurface in ways we cannot even imagine — because no one of us can imagine the ways that billions of people, using technologies perhaps not even yet invented, can see us.

I think my daughter’s generation will be better at this than we are. I think they will of necessity come up with ways to forgive, to look the other way. To recognize we live in multiple contexts, each with different standards of appropriateness, rules, incentives. Because we do and we have to and if we try to live in such a way that anything we ever do or say will be safe in any context it could ever come to light in — people we don’t know, norms we don’t know, exposed by technologies we don’t know, perhaps without our knowledge or consent — we’ll all be utterly paralyzed. Incapable of choice. And (more comfortable on the individual scale, but worse on the societal one) colorless. We’ll leach ourselves of personality or difference in horror that any of our jagged edges should ever prove to cut some way we can’t handle.

I am aware that technologies not yet invented will expose me in ways I cannot dream. That information buried now inside of images or sound will become ever-more searchable, that nontextual indexing and inputs will make new ways to ask and answer questions, that the tools for interrogating big data in human-friendly ways will be more developed and then democratized and then ubiquitous, that our interfaces will go from bricks in our pockets to implants in our bodies, from things we must use in some socially conspicuous way to things we can use with unseen signals, the twitches of electricity along muscle fibers.

I’ve been exposed. I’ve been online since 1991, a small and quiet internet, all anonymous corners and openness and exploratory wonder, an internet of MUDs and mailing lists and gopher, invisible colleges and friendly people and pseudonyms and ytalk and places I could find connection the world around me did not readily offer. I put a lot of myself on the internet before there was Google, before I’d thought to dream about discoverability. A smaller, quieter, wilder, more anonymous, less personalized, more individual, safer internet. And when I was a teacher almost twenty years later some students of mine using a technology that had not existed at the time I lived that life so quietly out loud found bits of me from when I was their age and proceeded to treat me the way middle schoolers treat nerdy introverted teenage girls who situate themselves within the sphere of deviance. I know what context leaks are like.

And yet…and yet. Here I am. I know it will happen, again and again and again, in spaces I can’t dream of, in ways that feel just as threatening and vulnerable. Maybe in ways with higher stakes. And I could be quiet about everything, be nothing but pseudonyms and PGP and cash-only transactions and barely leaving the house, could look for ways to protect myself from all the threats known and unknown, could try to imagine and defend against them all. Be paralyzed. Be colorless.

Or I could do this thing where a lot of me is in public, more than I would have imagined I’d be comfortable with. Because I do benefit from it, do thrive on making connections to people in known and unknown contexts, do have things to say. And choose to close my eyes. It’s a little lie I tell myself. A big lie. But it lets me function.

My daughter’s generation will develop better social technologies for handling context, because they are growing up in a world where they have to. Maybe not good social technologies, because I don’t think human social brains are equipped to be good at this, but better ones. And we will find their norms puzzling and dangerous. Kids these days. Don’t they understand? See the threats we see? We’ll be off to the side, uncomfortable.

But those norms, if they work, they’ll be built around another of the things people have been saying in the Aaron Swartz story all along, people who knew him, people who are wiser than I: only connect. Take care of each other. Be kind and forgive. Don’t be colorless — don’t file off all your jagged edges lest they sometime someone hurt or offend — please, don’t be colorless. We’re fragile and strange, and my favorite people tend to be more fragile and strange still, and we’ll hurt each other and misunderstand, but let’s try to give one another the benefit of the doubt over that, to find forbearance, to love one another not in spite of but for our fallibility, to stumble toward our little bits of the light together, holding out our hands for one another.

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LITA Listening Tour Episode 5: Evviva Weinraub Lajoie

February 23rd, 2013 · Uncategorized

As part of my campaign for LITA Board, I’m interviewing a wide range of library techonology people about their involvement with the association. Today’s interviewee is Evviva Weinraub Lajoie.

About Evviva Weinraub Lajoie

Evviva Weinraub Lajoie is the Director of Emerging Technologies & Services at Oregon State University Libraries & Press. Her team is responsible for all IT services within the library including mobile, and open source tools development. Her interests include mobile technologies, digital publishing, digital humanities, and open source development.

She has served on the LITA International Relations committee and the Research & Assessment Committee, and is currently chair of both the Heads of Library Technology IG and the Mobile IG.

You can learn more about Evviva at her departmental web site and on Google+ and Twitter (@evviva).

The boilerplate

  1. As ever, being interviewed does not imply an endorsement of my candidacy.
  2. Thanks, Evviva, for participating!
  3. Dear readers: who should be next?

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LITA Listening Tour Episode 4: Emily Ford

February 20th, 2013 · Uncategorized

As part of my campaign for LITA Board, I’m interviewing a wide range of library techonology people about their involvement with the association. Today’s interviewee is Emily Ford.

This interview is a bit different from the others: Emily is a former LITA member who left. I’m really glad to have had the chance to talk to someone from that perspective. Diversity and outreach are important to me, which means it’s every bit as important to hear from people for whom the association isn’t working as those for whom it is, and learn from that.

About Emily Ford

After following her local public library and the ACLU’s fight against the Children’s Internet Protection Act in the Supreme Court in 2003, Emily decided to become a librarian. A few years later she earned an MLS and an MIS from Indiana University Bloomington. She was a member of the 2008 class of ALA Emerging Leaders and continued her involvement in ALA first with LITA, and then with RUSA and ACRL.

Emily frequently contributes articles to In the Library with the Lead Pipe where she is also an Editorial Board member and one of the journal’s co-founders. She has two active research projects. One examines the changing practices in scholarly publishing and peer review practices; the second investigates the research and information habits of returning and professional students. She is currently Urban & Public Affairs Librarian at Portland State University.

You can learn more about Emily at her web site and on Slideshare, Google+, and Twitter (@femilyr).

The boilerplate

  1. As ever, being interviewed does not imply an endorsement of my candidacy.
  2. Thanks, Emily, for participating!
  3. Dear readers: who should be next?

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my #c4l13 lightning talk: five conversations about coding

February 16th, 2013 · Uncategorized

I gave this lightning talk at Code4Lib 2013, February 13 in Chicago.

I’m Andromeda Yelton, and I’m going to take you on a quick waltz through five conversations about coding. I don’t have time in five minutes to draw the arrow that connects them all, so I leave that for you.

Conversation 1: computer science majors, 1995.

I went to an engineering school in the dotcom boom, so many of my friends were computer science majors. And we got along great…as long as they weren’t talking about computers. Because the mode of discourse there was all about showing off mastery over fine details, the more obscure the better. And the social function of that discourse was to prove who had the most status by who had the most detail mastery. And to make a yardstick: you must be this cool to play.

I’ve never had the kind of mind that can win at conversations like that. I don’t have the database in my head of details, I can’t call them to mind in realtime, I don’t make comparisons like that. In that discourse, I was never going to be cool. So I packed up my toys and left.

Conversation 2: Boston Python Workshop, last fall.

The Boston Python Workshop runs this newbie-friendly, women-and-their-friends bootcamp introduction to Python as part of its outreach. I TAed it last fall. This was a tech event that was 90 percent women, of all ages and races and many linguistic backgrounds. It was mindblowing. I’ve never seen anything like it.

But the thing that really stuck with me was how nonjudgmental we were. Everyone on the instructional staff modeled fallibility. And some of the instructors are professional software engineers, Python package maintainers — hardcore. But every one of us had a time we said, you know, I’m not an expert on that, let me call over so-and-so, they know better. Or, you know, I can never remember the details of that, I always just ask Dr. Google.

And every time, the students were so relieved they didn’t have to be perfect to play. And I hadn’t realized how much time and energy I spent in tech waiting to be judged and found wanting, tensed against the strike, until I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

Conversation 3: Chad Nelson, Monday night. We were talking about how we didn’t get into code and then we did, and we agreed the most important thing is not being afraid.

Conversation 4: Bess Sadler, yesterday morning. She asked the keynote speaker a question which included the words, “we have a problem with insecurity.”

Now, it’s important to be modest. Admitting ignorance is the beginning of knowledge. And sometimes this stuff is hard because it’s hard — there are things that require genuine experience and mastery and deep magic. We all have limits to our knowledge.

But we go beyond that. We’re so concerned with situating ourselves as less than something. I think we feel the cognitive dissonance — we have the yardstick in our heads, from our own version of that conversation with computer science majors in 1995, and we know we don’t measure up. But we also know we’re here, and we’re playing.

Conversation 5.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever written any code, and yes, modifying something someone else has written to serve your purposes counts.

Raise your hand if you call yourself a coder.

Conversation 5 is us, and it’s now.


I find it hard to imagine this wasn’t obvious from the outside, though I’m told it wasn’t, but — I was terrified giving this talk. I haven’t been this scared on stage for years. It’s not the public speaking — I’ve got a handle on that now — but the fact that I was saying something raw and personal, something about identity and belonging, and I didn’t know how it would be received. I’ve been so amazed and relieved and humbled at how, then, it was received, with enthusiasm and understanding and resonance and open hearts. Dear Code4Lib, you modeled fallibility all week; fallibility and sharing and kindness and humanity. You brought your code to your life, and your life to your code, and I’m stronger for it, and I hope you are stronger with me. My six-year-old daughter is distressed that I didn’t go to a Valentine’s party yesterday, but really, I think I did.

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LITA Listening Tour Episode 3: Breanne Kirsch

February 6th, 2013 · Uncategorized

As part of my campaign for LITA Board, I’m interviewing a wide range of LITAns about their involvement with the association. Today’s interviewee is Breanne Kirsch.

ABOUT BREANNE KIRSCH

Librarianship is Breanne Kirsch’s second career — before this, she was a primate zookeeper for 2 years at the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama. Her background is in animal behavior and anthropology. She is in her first full-time position, as a Public Services Librarian at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, SC. She’s the liaison to the English and Film Studies departments.

She created a plagiarism prevention workshop at USC Upstate using Lycoming College’s Goblin Threat Game, which sparked her interest in gaming in libraries, especially instructional games. She founded the Game Making Interest Group through LITA at the 2012 Midwinter Meeting, after discovering she could during LITA 201, collecting the signatures at Happy Hour, and formally joining LITA later that night. The interest group will have an official LITA Program on Gamification at ALA Annual.

She is also a 2011 ALA Emerging Leader and a co-chair of LITA’s Imagineering Interest Group.

You can learn more about Breanne on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/breanne.kirsch) and Twitter, @breezyalli.

THE BOILERPLATE

  1. As ever, being interviewed does not imply an endorsement of my candidacy.
  2. Thanks, Breanne, for participating!
  3. Dear readers: who should be next?

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virtual campaign swag

February 1st, 2013 · Uncategorized

The internet told me I should make swag for my campaign (I’m running for LITA Board), so I did (even though gotta say, feels egotistical even for me!). At any rate, if you saw me at Midwinter, maybe you ended up with a sticker. But, asked a friend, what about those of you not at Midwinter? Could you have virtual campaign swag?

Since apparently I do whatever the internet tells me, 1 2 the answer is yes, you can! Just copy this and paste it wherever HTML can be pasted:

<div style="position:relative; width:88%; margin:3%; padding: 3%; background: #995494; -webkit-border-radius: 15px; -khtml-border-radius: 15px; -moz-border-radius: 15px; border-radius: 15px;">
    <div style="font-size:75%; background:#fff;  -webkit-border-radius: 15px; -khtml-border-radius: 15px; -moz-border-radius: 15px; border-radius: 15px; text-align: center;">
        <img src="http://thatandromeda.github.com/lita/bootstrap/img/andromeda.jpg" style="position:relative; padding:2%; width:96%;">
        <i>Photo credit <a href="http://photoclave.com" style="color: #636140;">Molly Tomlinson</a></i>
    </div>
        
    <div style="width:96%; padding: 2%; margin-top: 15px; background: #fff; color: #333; -moz-border-radius: 15px; border-radius: 15px;">
        <div style="padding: 0 5px;">
            I'm voting Andromeda for LITA Board of Directors.  <a href="http://thatandromeda.github.com/lita/" style="color: #636140;">Learn more!</a>
        </div>
    </div>
</div>

It’s got my color scheme and everything! It’s been tested basically nowhere, so tell me if it looks weird. Or hack it yourself! 3

Notes:

  1. Use your powers only for good and never for evil. Well, maybe for eeeeeevil. Sparingly.
  2. yes I know there’s something broken about how often the footnotes render
  3. Fun!

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LITA Listening Tour Episode 2: Ken Varnum

January 17th, 2013 · Uncategorized

As part of my campaign for LITA Board, I’m interviewing a wide range of LITAns about their involvement with the association. Today’s interviewee is Ken Varnum.

About Ken Varnum

Ken Varnum is the Web Systems Manager at the University of Michigan Library, where he manages the library web site and development of new features and functionality. He received a masters degree from the University of Michigan’s School of Information and his Bachelor of Arts from Grinnell College. He has worked in a range of library settings — large and small academic, corporate, and special. He led the University of Michigan’s implementation of Summon using the Summon API in a Drupal site in 2010. An active member of the library technology world for 18 years, Ken’s research and professional interests range from Drupal and site redesign to user-generated content. His first book, Drupal in Libraries, was published by ALA TechSource in late spring 2012.

You can learn more about Ken at his work web page and on Twitter, @varnum.

The Boilerplate

  1. As ever, being interviewed does not imply an endorsement of my candidacy.
  2. Thanks, Ken, for participating!
  3. Dear readers: who should be next?

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LITA Listening Tour Episode 1: Frank Skornia

January 17th, 2013 · Uncategorized

In case you missed it, I’m running for LITA Board, as a Director-at-Large for 2013-2016. (Check out the full list of candidates.)

Win or lose, I want to make sure my campaign is a learning experience that produces something of value. And it turns out being a candidate is a great excuse to meet people and learn about their perspectives!

I also thought my 2011 Emerging Leaders classmates on Team M — the Branding LITA project — had some really good ideas. In particular, I loved their idea of an “I am LITA” video series. I’ve been sad ever since that the Board didn’t follow up on their recommendations. And I realized this is a “be the change you want to see in the world” moment — I may not know a thing about videography or market identity, but Google has kindly given us this Hangouts on Air tool, so what the heck! I’m going to talk to people and find out what LITA means to them.

So here’s my very first interviewee: Frank Skornia. Thanks, Frank, for being my guinea pig.

About Frank Skornia

Frank Skornia is a recent library school graduate with experience in digital archives and interest in all sorts of things: library instruction, emerging technologies, sci-fi, and gaming, to name a few. He’s on LITA’s Membership Development Committee. You can follow him at his blog and on Twitter, @fskornia.

Your turn

Dear readers: whom do you want to hear from? I’d like to chat with lots more people! People from all types of libraries, people involved with tech from all sorts of angles, people who joined LITA just yesterday or have been heavily involved for years (even people who dropped their membership, or are wondering if they should join, or never joined even though they’re in library technology). Would you like to chat with me about LITA? Have someone you think I should interview? Drop me a comment or an email.

Obligatory disclaimer: being interviewed does not, of course, constitute an endorsement of my campaign.

Some thanks

Lauren Comito, Emily Daly, Bohyun Kim, Pearl Ly, Andreas Orphanides, my sparkling Emerging Leader classmates: this series is for you.

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how to get me to want you as a keynoter

January 13th, 2013 · Uncategorized

All of the Twitters pointed me today to this Hi Miss Julie! post on who does and doesn’t get attention in librarianship and why. (It’s good; go read it.) The bit that jumped out at me:

I want people to listen to what I have to say. I want to be offered speaking engagements, to have a larger platform to discuss my ideas of how to better librarianship, to be valued….So next time you need a keynote speaker, perhaps consider one of us librarians who spend most of our time on the floor–often literally. Our subject matter might not be “sexy”, but we know how to tell a damn good story.

This jumped out at me because, well, I’m on a conference planning committee (LITA National Forum 2013), and I spent a big chunk of time last fall thinking about who our keynoters should be. (Obligatory disclaimer: I’m speaking for myself and not the committee here; experiences and opinions my own.)

So let me tell you what I think about how to get people to make that offer. First, I’ll tell you how I got from my own personal longlist to my own personal shortlist (which was not, of course, the committee’s final shortlist); then I’ll tell you what people could have done to up the odds of being shortlisted.

How I researched keynote speaker options

Here was my rough process. I brainstormed the biggest list I could, trying hard to get outside the usual suspects and my personal circle, and to come up with a pool that was diverse on many axes. I put my ear to the ground for rumors. I read speaker lists from other conferences (including ones tangential to library technology), the Code4Lib diversity scholarship recipients, lists of past LITA Emerging Leaders. Et cetera. And then I took that list and researched the heck out of it, looking for evidence that these were people I could recommend as keynoters.

Because: here’s the thing. For session speakers, we can take a risk on an unknown. Heck, I for one would love to have some new, or new-to-LITA, speakers at Forum. (You, maybe? Call for proposals.) And it’s okay to run the risk that some of them will be terrible for the chance that some of them will be great. You don’t waste a lot of people’s time. They can go to competing sessions. These things happen.

But you hang your brand on your keynoters. There are no competing sessions, and a substantial fraction of attendees will go, and you owe them a good show. And they’re the marquee names you use to convince people to come to your conference in the first place, which has huge implications for the financial and experiential success of the event.

So here are the things I was looking for:

  • Evidence they could speak well. Ideally, video of previous talks. Positive reports from attendees of other talks are good. A job with lots of required public speaking (schoolteacher, instructional librarian, children’s librarian, adjunct faculty…) is a good sign, and reduces the other evidence needed, but it’s not on its own sufficient. In a pinch, substantial public speaking experience coupled with solid evidence of charisma – interesting topics, an interesting take on them, a social media or face-to-face presence full of personality, et cetera. I feel shaky recommending a keynoter on that evidence, but if their work is just super-interesting and a good fit for the conference theme, I can take that risk.
  • Documented speaking experience. Session speakers can be giving talks for the first time. We all did once, right? Everyone starts somewhere. But if you’re keynoting, this cannot be the first time you’ve delivered a talk of keynote length. It cannot be the first time you’ve spoken before a sizable audience. Full stop.
  • Evidence they actually were interested in speaking engagements.Duh, right? And yet.
  • Easy-to-communicate appeal. Because the keynoters are part of the marketing, they either need to be familiar names to the audience, or people whose work is obviously interesting and well-documented, and the outlines of which can be communicated in the one paragraph they’ll get in the publicity materials. That has to be enough to make people interested in attending, or at least in learning more.

So I was looking for this. And for many, many names on the list, I couldn’t find it. That does not mean they would not be good keynoters. It means I couldn’t find enough evidence to be comfortable taking the risk. And, while I can ping someone out of the blue and ask them to submit a proposal for a session (and have), we can’t just call up a keynote option and say, hey, are you actually capable of doing this job? We can’t call you up to keynote unless we already know the answer is yes.

Steps you can take to be more appealing as a speaker

AKA “seriously, I wish more people had done this”.

  1. First-and-if-you-do-nothing-else, please put something on your web site that says you are actually interested in getting speaking engagements. (Something which, frankly, I could do a better job of myself. Bad Andromeda.)
  2. Second, put your CV or similar online. Let people see how many talks you’ve given, at what sorts of events, on what sorts of topics. Let them have a sense of whether they’re panel talks or you’ve held a stage solo, whether they’re 15 minutes or an hour or a day. (And if you want to keynote, some of them need to be solo and hour-minimum.) If some of them were keynotes or otherwise invited, specify. (And keep it reasonably up-to-date!)
  3. Give people ways of evaluating the quality or critical reception of your talks. Again, video is ideal. If you got media coverage, or blog coverage, that’s good. Slideshare’s good. Whatever tool(s) you use, give people a chance to see how you construct and deliver talks, and to infer whether the audience likes them.
  4. Be easy to contact.
  5. Yes, most of this assumes you have a web site. Yes, do that, and not just because it makes conference planners’ lives easier (though it does; thanks!). It’s about marketing. If you’re already a familiar name to your audience, you don’t need the web presence, but if you’re not, they’re going to google you, and they need to see reasons to be excited about hearing you speak. This doesn’t mean you have to be Ms. Flashy McFlashums 2.0 — I can think of some people who would be great for LITA who don’t have huge social media presences or their own domain — but you need a place to stick that CV and contact info and other useful information, and it needs to effectively communicate that you’re an interesting person doing interesting work who might, therefore, have interesting things to say interestingly.

Postscript

When I was culling my longlist, the people I had to eliminate for lack of evidence were, disproportionately, the people who would have brought to Forum types of diversity I’d really like to see. This made me want to pretty much curl up in a corner and cry.

Advocate for yourself.

I know, I know, it feels awkward, it’s hard sometimes. If it helps, don’t think of it as ego. Think of it as being helpful and considerate, making conference planners’ jobs easier.

FYI, keynote shortlist time has come and gone, but the LITA Forum 2013 Call for Proposals for speakers is open until late February. And even — especially — if you’re not one of the usual suspects, I’m willing to take a chance on you here. We can’t accept every proposal, but I am so looking forward to hard decisions among intriguing candidates. Write a great pitch. Tell me why you’re a speaker I’ve been looking for.

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