Kendra Preston Leonard


On the AMS open meeting of the Committee on Race & Ethnicity in the Profession

I’m happy to see this meeting taking place, and equally happy that people will be able to participate anonymously. I raised the possibility of using Twitter during the session for those of us who can’t make it, and to facilitate real-time responses to the conversation. Here’s my original email and the AMS’s reply, via George Lewis. If anyone can assist in live-tweeting the session, please contact him at gl2140 [at] columbia [dot] edu.

My emil to the CRE, 2016-10-20:

Hi—I’m delighted to read that there’s live-streaming for the meeting. I’m wondering, though, if there could be a designated Twitterer at the meeting who could take and communicate comments and questions for the meeting in real-time. Email is slow, and if people want to participate during the meeting (rather than preparing comments and questions beforehand), Twitter might be a very useful tool for enabling them to do so. 

The response from Lewis, 2016-10-21:

Dear Dr. Leonard—

I am the co-chair of the planning committee for the forthcoming AMS Committee on the Status of Race and Ethnicity (working title), and yours was the very first email received at the planning committee’s address. 

I very much appreciate your support of the plans for the special session, as well as your suggestions regarding the use of Twitter for the session.  

As we have stated, the main purpose of the session is to gather information that can help the planning committee and its successor, the permanent committee, in its work.  Thus, all comments will be archived for study and reference.  Also, people can express their views before, during, or after the session.  

A number of people have expressed the need for anonymous commenting, which is easier to implement with the AMS website setup than with either Twitter or email:

•           Remote participants may send in comments or suggestions via email during the session:  These comments will not be anonymized.

•           Anonymous comments may be sent to the regular AMS suggestion site, with the subject line “CRE Session”:  

For example, you submitted your comment via the email address. Emails received at this address are not anonymized, and are forwarded to me and to the planning committee co-chaor, Judy Tsou.  

>>Email is slow, and if people want to participate during the meeting (rather than preparing comments and questions beforehand),

I have to say that I was having a hard time imagining an impediment to writing an email or using the website form and sending it in, before, during or after the session.  The nominal 140-character Twitter text limit, and its one-to-many broadcast model, are major factors in the speed of responses, but there are no plans to broadcast a live video comment feed in the session space; thus, the need for speed seems less crucial, and some of the comments will certainly exceed 140 characters.   

Also, from my perspective, participation in the session involves listening as well as commenting.

 >>if there could be a designated Twitterer at the meeting 

Indeed, someone will need to monitor and moderate any comment lines (if you know of a potential volunteer, that would be great), since there is no possibility of reading every remote query or comment to the session, or responding to everyone who wishes to comment in person.  Decisions will be made by a moderator as to which remote comments will be read at the session to the live and streamed participants.  

I hope the foregoing is helpful.   

Again, if you will be at the meeting and can help live-Tweet it or serve as a volunteer moderator for Tweeted comments, please let George know!