[Air-L] History of AIR-L

Leslie Tkach-Kawasaki tkach at japan.email.ne.jp
Thu Feb 15 07:09:54 PST 2018

Hi, all,

I can add to Charlie's recollections (hi, Charlie!).

I believe that the group of people that he mentioned were those that 
attended a workshop in June 2000 at the Annenberg School of 
Communication, University of Pennsylvania. The workshop was organized by 
Kirsten Foot (now University of Washington) and Steven Schneider (still 
in New York?). [Hi! How are you!?!]

I think that Kirsten and Steve were doing post-docs at the time. The 
main focus of the workshop was comparative analysis of political actor 
websites (mainly political parties and candidates), and they were 
working towards their concept of "websphere" in terms of how political 
actors involved in campaigning via the Internet were using websites.

As for me, I was invited to the workshop because I was doing a 
comparative website content analysis of Japanese political party 
websites from the June 2000 general election. I found out about the 
workshop initially through some listserv, emailed Steve Schneider about 
my methodology, and he invited me.

Attendees? I believe that there were about 13 or 15 people at the 
workshop. Klaus was there, and so was Nick Jankowski. I especially 
remember talking with Nick about how to theorize the political Internet. 
I met Jennifer Stromer-Galley either there or in Kansas the year after 
at the first AoIR conference. She was a grad student at the time.

I remember towards the end of the symposium that we had a roundtable 
discussion, and one highly engaging topic was "Hey, we should have some 
kind of association for people who research the Internet!"

Then, it seemed to take off from there, as someone knew Steve Jones and 
said "he'd be interested in something like this!" Other names that were 
mentioned were Nancy Baum in Kansas and Susan Herring. Someone said that 
we should contact Nancy Baum and have a conference at the University of 
Kansas. That was the first AoIR.

I've always thought that AoIR's conferences were the best -- ever since 
that first one in Kansas. (Nancy Baum is an amazing organizer!) And have 
tried to go as often as family and/or work permits.

Leslie Tkach-Kawasaki, Associate Professor
University of Tsukuba, Japan

P.S. I was the Grad Student Rep on the Executive Board from 2001 to 2003 
(or 2002 to 2004?).

On 2018/02/15 1:19, Charlie Breindahl wrote:
> The first I heard about AoIR was when professor Klaus Bruhn Jensen came back to Copenhagen from a conference somewhere and mentioned that a group of people were considering forming an association for internet researchers. I think this must have been in the late spring of 1999. He gave me some names and I probably sent an email asking how I could help. As you know, the first Internet Research conference was organized by Nancy Baym and held in Lawrence, Kansas, in October 2000. AIR-L must have been up and running some time before this.
> I think Steve Jones, our first president, created AIR-L. I think it ran on an iMac in his office, possibly on mailman list management software. We later changed to LISTSERV, perhaps in connection with changing servers.
> I managed AIR-L from about 1999 or 2000 until Holly Kruse took over in 2004. Feel free to contact me. It was an exciting time!
> All the best,
> Charlie

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