Under the well-meaning guise of network tools, conferences ask that all attendees wear a name badge prominently displayed on their person. In order to further help attendees navigate the many faces and names, they also traditionally ask for each person's affiliation. The OAH Annual Meeting has been no exception.
The blog post 'Hey Academics, Please Stop Calling Me an "Independent Scholar"' by Megan Kate Nelson recently prompted an important conversation about the way in which we label ourselves, and thereby each other. Conference attendees increasingly identify themselves as more than their affiliation, and those without a current affiliation increasingly feel on the outskirts of an ever-shrinking group.
We encourage all attendees to reconsider what they list on their badge during the registration process. We invite you to list your specialty, twitter handle, or, if you prefer, your affiliation. We want all our attendees to feel comfortable and to use the information on the badges of their peers to help build relationships and make new connections.
What would you use--area of expertise, twitter handle, affiliation, other?