Quick thought on cyberethnography

If someone searches for you on the Web and comes up empty-handed, do you exist?

Mary Brandel, Computerworld.com

Fragmented mirror by ArielPSo, ethnography seems to be having somewhat of an identity crisis partially inspired by the massive migration online and the various affordances of technological data-collection techniques. Plus ça change perhaps, as Ira reminds us of the lack of consistency of ‘traditional’ ethnography (cf the oddly different “Slim’s Table” vs. “There Are No Children Here” studies from 1991/2).

So, some cast doubt on the validity of online ethnography because, well, anyone can be or say anything online can’t they? But could this not be part of identity – a distributed identity no less valid than that presented face-to-face or through techniques using Relational Frame Theory (whatever that is)?

Image: Untitled by ArielP

3 responses to “Quick thought on cyberethnography

  1. “It’s all narrative,” as I say far too often. We have stories to tell and we tell them, dressing them up as ethnographies or dressing them up as quantitative studies. They are all fictional because we, as authors, always carve the lens we’re looking through.

    I think what makes a great ethnography, on-line or anywhere, is an attitude going in which allows you to be surprised by what you see, by what you discover. That is the rarest thing is social science research, but it is the only thing which makes any research worthwhile.

  2. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Dramatise!!!

  3. Hi Dramatise, I wouldn’t worry about it too much! I use this place to record things that cross my mind when studying. Sometimes, looking back on entries, I’m not entirely sure what the point is either. 🙂

    Welcome aboard.

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