Finished my second paper, Mediating Ethnography: Objectivity and the Making of Ethnographies of the Internet by Beaulieu. Decent overview, nothing too groundbreaking here, easy enough to cite in support of our method.
How do we do ethnography of the internet?
Brings up lurker problem (calls it "mechanical objectivity") -- that online, the ethnographer can lurk without being noticed. We discussed this in a different thread on ER.
Emphasis on value of interaction as part of ethnographic approach
Need to read: Phil Howard's 2002 article in New Media and Society on Network Ethnography and the Hypermedia Organization (amusingly, he is my supervisor's husband and is also at the OII); also read Hine 2000.
'Reflexive Intersubjectivity' -- crucial to good ethnography. Useful phrase to capture how we engage online (e.g. we do not lurk!)
Hine --- "dialogue between clearly interpelated individuals, and an ethnographer who attempts to make herself and her goals as clear as possible" (150)
Heath et al 1999 interact with users
- "knowledge comes from engagement and interaction, always both purposive and incidental" (150)
Blog -- using blog as introduction to explain research and to let informants follow the development of the thesis (Mortensen and Walker 2002, 51)
- Just like our open research group on ER
To gamers, easier to fake an actual-world persona than it is to maintain a consistent long term online presence (ibid)
Blog and phenomena studied "live" in the same space (just like Edgeryders)
- Form of communication and use of technology are aligned to the cultural phenomena being investigated
○ Challenges practice of leaving field for writing up
○ Ethnography develops a 'more ongoing' character
Apparently, blogging has been a source of backlash by peers, considered too 'journalistic' (Glenn 2003)
Changing values in wake of new scientific communication
The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach by Miller and Slater (2000)
Arrival stories in ethnographies of the internet -- Baym 1995; Correll 1995
Capture--- internet allows for recovering mediated interactions as text
- Open and accessible (these are tropes)
Text is the only thing to be analyzed (also trope) --- important for us to explain onboarding processes and our offline events, and the liveliness/live action elements of conversation. Beyond world-as-text (though no ethnographer actually sees online interaction as an example of true culture-as-text).
Digital allows for the scaling up ethnography, making it a sustainable and cost-effective way of observing everyday life for industry as part of R&D (she sees this as a hype/problematic kind of move, since it's complicated, and also in the service of questionable aims) -- Marsten and Plowman 2003
"The anxiety about a possible loss of the epistemic gain of the translating/trascribing ethnographer, through a realisation that textuality is always already present, may also be compensated by the creation of yet more complex transcriptions, such as network diagrams, large-scale semi-automated content analysis…this may lead to interesting new conversations between ethnography and other methodological approaches" (159)