Digital methods for ethnography: analytical concepts for ethnographers exploring social media environments

Caliandro, Alessandro (2018) Digital methods for ethnography: analytical concepts for ethnographers exploring social media environments. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 47 (5) . pp. 551-578. ISSN 0891-2416 (doi:10.1177/0891241617702960)

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Abstract

The aim of this article is to introduce some analytical concepts suitable for ethnographers dealing with social media environments. As a result of the growth of social media, the Internet structure has become a very complex, fluid, and fragmented space. Within this space, it is not always possible to consider the 'classical' online community as the privileged field site for the ethnographer, in which s/he immerses him/herself. Differently, taking inspiration from some methodological principles of the Digital Methods paradigm, I suggest that the main task for the ethnographer moving across social media environments should not be exclusively that of identifying an online community to delve into but of mapping the practices through which Internet users and digital devices structure social formations around a focal object (e.g., a brand). In order to support the ethnographer in the mapping of social formations within social media environments, I propose five analytical concepts: community, public, crowd, self-presentation as a tool, and user as a device.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media
Item ID: 22214
Notes on copyright: Alessandro Caliandro, Digital Methods for Ethnography: Analytical Concepts for Ethnographers Exploring Social Media Environments,
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 47(5), 551–578. Copyright © 2017 The Author. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.
Depositing User: Alessandro Caliandro
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2017 14:02
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2019 11:05
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/22214

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