Life is good!

Today has been one of those days in which I realize how good life is and how well things are going for me. I had a meeting with one of my professors today to talk about his upcoming book (I’m doing the website for him) and we started talking about all sorts of digital media/youth issues. It was a very good conversation that left me feeling quite inspired. It’s nice to know that other people (scholars) take interest in your research. There are some more details/good news from that conversation that I don’t want to publicly announce until things become official, but yea, it was a very good conversation with lots of potential research opportunities. 

Also, as of yesterday I am now part of the Latinitas Teen Reporter Intern Program. I’ve done a little bit of academic research about the organization, primarily their social networking site, and I’ve done a little bit of volunteering, but haven’t been as involved as I wanted. An opportunity presented itself for me to be one of the TRIP facilitators and as busy as I am, I’m really excited to do it. I love academia (obviously) but I definitely feel the need to also be in the “real world”, working with “real people” outside of academia. A lot of my research addresses issues of youth cultures and in particular girls, so it’s a perfect way for me to bridge my academic interests with “real world” issues. I like to think my research is important and makes a difference, but it’s also really nice to do something hands on outside of academia. Working with girls gives you a whole different perspective on their world that is hard to really grasp from a research perspective. I’m also hoping to possibly incorporate some of the girls into a couple research projects, as I’m all about giving youth a voice in research so that it’s not just research “about’ youth but rather research by youth. 
In addition to publishing FlowTV and working with Latinitas, I also have a summer teaching job that I’ve done the past few years. I get to teach reading to all levels – kindergarten through college  – it’s a lot of work but very rewarding. I enjoy working with kids and helping them (hopefully) fall in love with reading. I just got my schedule yesterday and I’m quite pleased with it. 

And finally, I’m about to tackle some of my summer research projects. I’ve got a chapter coming out in Sharon Mazzarella’s edited book Girl Wide Web 2.0 (the follow-up to Girl Wide Web) which I really need to get ready. It’s a chapter from my Master’s thesis which addresses girls’ blogs as spaces of community-building, but right now it’s way too long and I’m not quite sure how to cut it down yet. I’m also planning on doing some interviews this summer to talk to people about their use of Facebook. I’m particularly interested in the ways Facebook fosters weak ties and how this creates opportunities for exposure to political and ideological difference. I’ve worked up the proposal, just waiting on IRB approval before I start conducting the interviews. Hopefully that goes well since I’m presenting at the Internet Research 10.0 conference in Milwaukee this fall. And finally, about a year and a half ago I wrote a paper about the Megan Meier MySpace Suicide Case and presented it at the 2008 International Symposium on Online Journalism. A lot has happened with the case since that paper was written so I’m hoping to update and expand it over the summer and get it ready for publication. I didn’t really address the legal aspects of the case at the time I wrote the paper, but I’m wanting to address some of the strange ideological gender biases associated with the legality of the case (as well as just bring the paper up-to-date). 
Today was also really good because I got to talk to my Dad on the phone for awhile. He and I have a really great relationship, but for whatever reason we usually communicate via text and email rather than the actual phone. But today we have a nice long conversation and it was really nice. I love my Dad 🙂 
So that is my summer in a nutshell and really I couldn’t be happier. It has been pretty hot lately, but when I’m not working I’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors with friends – floating the river, going to the beach, hanging out at Barton Springs, Bar-B-Qs. Heat is much more bearable with water and friends. So yea, things are going really well in my academic life and my personal life – what more could I ask for?

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