Yes, I know it is just a game and it is fun and it is not something to get all blog-ranty about. But, sorry, we’re (mostly) sociologists and we learned long ago the importance of the mundane (R.I.P. Garfinkel this year, by the way). The number of “retweets” this card receives makes it something worth discussing. We made our sociological bed, so let me sleep in it for a second.We’ll notice that the popular bingo card, created by Kieran Healy, is pretty negative. This does not mean that Healy or those who get a kick out of this dislike the conference. Instead, it provides a lighthearted way of expressing our frustrations with the event. Such as:

  • Annoyance over those who complain about dues increasing
  • The excruciating performance of small talk out of convention rather than desire
  • Using phrases such as “brought back in”, “can you say more about”, “mixed-methods”; my guess is that people are annoyed with these phrases becuase they are over-used? (and if you think I am reading too much negativity in, see the people already apologizing on Twitter for using these phrases)
  • Wandering around in the book exhibit (which is gendered as “male” for some reason)
  • “Hipness” is critiqued, which gels with the larger “hipster hate” societal trend, alive and well at ASA
  • Similarly, there is the requisite “iPad” dis, which speaks to fact that many view this device as about performing hipness (or victims of the Apple spectacle) opposed to the idea that those users actually find the iPad useful
  • “Badge glancing”, where interpersonal exchanges are driven by potential social capitol
  • Too many slides for a short presentation
  • Audience and panel won’t disagree
  • Or, that the presenter doesn’t care if someone disagrees

These last three points speak directly to the frustration that the goals we have for conferences are often not met. We are here in Vegas partly to learn from each other and improve our own ideas, yet so many (though, not all) of the sessions lack good dialogue. When a person presents to five bored attendees checking their email, nothing is achieved. And this needs to change.

Thus, the card serves as a good list of important problems with the ASA meetings that should be addressed (understanding that many of the issues are simply inevitabilities. Which reminds me: why no mention of Wi-Fi?).

That said, I would love to see a more positive ASA Bingo Card. One that lists the reasons why we are here and what we can gain from this experience. What positives can we get out of this meeting? Perhaps a card like this could help people make the best use of their time spent at meetings like this. Or perhaps I typed too many words (“smugly”, on an iPad) about something as silly as a bingo card.