22 Feb

Week 6 Synthesis

Following the mid-course feedback on my lifestream content, I have been looking to diversity my posts and include a wider variety of automated content (using IFFT).  So, in addition to twitter, pinterest and vimeo,  I have added automated content from Tumblr and  YouTube.

My aim this week was to understand more about netnography and to see how the practice is represented in online mediums.  I found a link, via Tumblr, to a useful blog ‘Netnography Geeks’ – a student research blog.  What is interesting to see here is how much of the researchers’ ethnographic fieldnotes are laid bare in the blog, reflecting an emphasis on ‘openness’ in digital research.

The videos on Netnography that I found via Vimeo and Youtube highlight interesting aspects in the presentation of Netnography in cyberspace.  Whilst some content reflect a conventional/academic style of presentation (e.g. ‘Netnography – an instructional guide’ from Youtube) others utilise key elements of digital culture to communicate an understanding of the practice.  ‘Netnography the movie’ for example, uses key cultural references (e.g. sounds from Star Trek’)  to take the viewer on a virtual tour.

This week’s content also highlights how netnography is a complex fusion of influences, mixing a focus on culture reflective of traditional ethnography (with its roots in social anthropology) with media/ marketing concerns around understanding consumer behaviour.  This has been useful to me in helping me make sense of my micro-ethnography’s focus (reflected in my Twitter posts this week) around how the infrastructure of online environments shape community members’ interactions e.g. how communities are structured around key MOOC ‘brand’ identities such as ‘Coursera’ and ‘University of Michigan’.

PS – Youtube and Tumblr IFFT notifications are currently lacking in key information (e.g. URLs to the blogs/videos) which I’ll try and fix this week.

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