2012 Convention Stories

Digital Presence, or How to Keep Up with the Convention When Incapacitated

by Joe Nelis
Eastern Student Representative, 2012-2013
Xi Xi Chapter
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA

Joe NelisFirst impressions go a long way, even with coffee shops. As a coffee connoisseur (see also: English student), I was excited to try Café Du Monde. When a scalding hot mug of someone else's coffee was dropped in my lap, I was less than amused. With my jeans and The Great Gatsby shirt soaked, I made my awkward, chafing way back to the hotel. It was about this time I discovered that I forgot to pack an extra pair of pants.

I had two options: wear my suit pants and risk Murphy's Law ruining them the day before the Gala, or miss a couple of panel sessions to take advantage of the New Orleans Marriott's convenient laundry facilities. Seeing as I had never done laundry in a hotel (and I didn't want to ruin my best suit), I decided it was time for a stationary adventure.

Sitting there in the hotel room felt odd. New Orleans was the fourth Sigma Tau Delta Annual International Convention I had attended, and at each of the previous conventions I made sure I was in a panel during every concurrent session. Sitting there in bed seemed wrong. I wanted to support my fellow Deltans, especially as a newly elected Student Representative (SR). I was torn between my desires to participate in our community of scholars and to be among the reasonably pantalooned. Like any other sane individual, I decided to take my woes to the Internet.

Twitter became aware of what I dubbed "The du Monde Incident." Some of the friends that I had made through the "Tweet the Convention" contest voiced their sympathies and helped contribute to the humor of the situation. These tweets led me to play catch-up with what other people at the convention were talking about. I spent most of my time sitting in that hotel room digging through the expanding archive of micro convention testimonials. From my seclusion, I managed to gather a sense of the topics, texts, and images being discussed in various presentations.

It was dinner time when my clothes came out of the dryer. While I missed seeing some presentations first-hand, I still managed to get a digital glimpse of what was going on. What's more, I strengthened some connections with Deltans over Twitter that have turned into new friendships. Though the odds were surely against such a thing happening, I made more friends during that two-hour period than I did over the course of a previous convention. When we were let loose on NOLA after the Gala, I decided to give Cafe du Monde another shot. It was much more pleasant this time, and I had a number of new friends with whom to enjoy it.