Published: Julian Kilker

Julian Kilker (Journalism and Media Studies) has published “The Soft Power of Ephemeral Communities: A Short History of Las Vegas Technology Conventions, 1959-2019” in the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly. In the peer-reviewed article, he argues that technology conventions are notable because they are triply ephemeral — in a transient town with an ahistorical sensibility, they cover fast-paced market segments using a format that, over a period of days, brings together special-interest groups whose members reconnect periodically. All three of the involved parties—the city, the technology industry, and the event—promote the future over the past, and their intertwined ephemerality poses challenges and opportunities for researchers. The most important value for conventions may well be their soft-power aspects, which are difficult to commercially evaluate and market.

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