Virtual Ethnography


14 Responses to “Virtual Ethnography”

  1. Phil Devine March 7, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    Hi Steph – loved it!!!! Excellent work, but did have a big issue with the technology – overlaying slides and sound (in all my browsers), but got the gist… Loved your 500 as the possible narrator? A lot more granular than I was expecting (didn’t realise we needed go that deep & include ethics, percentages etc. ?????).

    The technology (if it worked correctly) and voice really helped to deliver interest (and character) in your topic. It would be interesting to compare the same without sound, just text (?). I’m really loving sound and it’s ability to deliver learning and interest in information. A lot more experimentation with sound is needed :)

    • Steph Carr March 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

      Hi Phil, thank you! The technology glitches have been so frustrating, but I have learnt a lot from the endeavour (not to use again until it is at least in a beta version for one thing). I’m sorry you’ve had to endure the glitches too.

      My 500 wasn’t meant to be the narrator, but what a fabulous idea.

      As for including percentages, it seemed the right thing to do at the time but actually I don’t think I should have done it. It makes the description quantitative rather than qualitative, and being qualitative is the point around ethnography (I think). And also without the data extraction tool it was difficult to be hugely accurate especially given this was a busy forum and was a moving target. And finally, it reminded me of a type of exercise I’d do at work and that’s never a good thing!!!

      I also like sound a lot, but I find I have to concentrate far harder than when I read/look – my aural attention span is a bit rubbish. :-) I don’t know why that is, perhaps there is some mileage in the old learning styles theories?

  2. Giraf87 March 7, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    hi Steph,

    I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. It’s very engaging and educational; loved how you lifted out some of the readings and gave it illustration and depth to your argument. I enjoyed the fact it was not overloaded by imagery and sound, but crisp and concise. To me it is very pedagogical. Super.

    PS I would like to find out what platform you used for the slides and sound?

    • Giraf87 March 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      just noticed you used slidespeech, mentioned in the other post – thanks!

    • Steph Carr March 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

      Thank you Gina. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I *tried* to ape the “Lessig style” of presentation (which is done really well, I think, in the link below).

      I actually found that the brevity of the communication in each slide and the subsequent impact on the length of the presentation worked in opposition to each other – if that makes any sense. In other words, I felt a bit constrained in how deeply I could really explore the theoretical notions (as compared to when writing) because I always had an eye on the amount of slides it would create. But it was an interesting exercise none the less, if a little frustrating.

      • Giraf87 March 7, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

        I do understand, and actually, I think that is a really interesting point; how the technology affects your writing. I remember with IDEL (back in 2010) I had a real struggle with producing an essay, felt constantly drawn into the online platform for the wrong reasons and felt completely ‘diverted’.

  3. Jen Ross March 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    really clever idea Steph – to take Bell’s ‘car driver’ example and run with it. I think you handled the ethical elements very well, here, and made them work for you.

    I was interested in your description of the moderator’s role as being to “justify and give authority to contributions” – I hadn’t considered it quite like that before, but I think you are probably right – this is about more than being helpful, but also about shaping through their attention what is and isn’t acceptable within the community.

    On slide 65 you say that the moderator might be trying to ‘avoid the rejection of otherness’ by setting out who was and wasn’t an insider in the group – is that what you meant? I would have thought it was the other way around – that he was trying to draw those boundaries very firmly. So that people would assume the community norms through lurking (as you say later)?

    I like how your robot voice says “soch-ability”. :-)

    • Steph Carr March 7, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

      “On slide 65…” – doesn’t that make your heart sink? And that was only three quarters through too!!! :-)

      I think that when I said that the moderator was trying to ‘avoid the rejection of otherness’, I was meaning that he was sensing a clique forming; a ‘bunkering’ down within the existing ‘old-timers” community. And he was sensing that these practices were in danger of excluding newcomers, or indeed lurkers. My thinking was, that by outlining his observations of this phenomenon, and asking for it to be changed, he was maybe trying to discourage this emerging insularity and was trying to embrace ‘otherness’. Does that make any sense at all?

      P.S. If i never listen to that robot voice again it will be too soon :-) But I did think it preferable to having to listen to my own dulcet geordie tones time and time again.

  4. Candace Nolan-Grant March 9, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Whey aye ; ) You had to listen to robo-American ones instead!!

    On Jen’s point, I thought it was interesting (although maybe I took this out of context?) that the moderator wanted everyone to be polite to newbies, and then defined what a newbie was, as if it was okay not to be polite to longer-time members…?! I suppose the rudeness might have been caused by frustration with newbie-specific faults (not understanding norms, asking questions that had been answered to times before, etc.), so maybe that’s the reason…?

    I did like the presentation style–wish we could get our academics to go with the minimalist approach ; )

    • Steph Carr March 13, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

      Hi Candace – whey aye yourself :-)

      ‘…as if it was okay not to be polite to longer-time members…’

      Yes! I’d never thought about that, but that probably was the top and bottom of it. In the full version of the post, the moderator does allude to the fact that the group is full of ‘banter’ and that he didn’t want the reprimand to stop that. But a personal (offline) friend of his had had a bit of a torrid time when he joined, and this had spurred on the post. I wonder if he’d have issued the post it if he didn’t have that offline relationship though. Interesting – thanks for that.

  5. Nikki Bourke March 10, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    Hi Steph,

    I hadn’t heard of Slideshare before now and I LOVE it! It marries your narrative and visuals really well together and though I did have a couple of pauses to sit through [my laptop having a moment or two] I couldn’t wait to see what the next slide was going to bring. As a presentation platform I found it really clean and polished.
    I found the structure of the group really interesting, the status/definitions of moderator and newbie – a hierarchy built around community rules and regulation.
    A really enjoyable ethnographic study!

    • Steph Carr March 13, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

      Thanks Nikki – please don’t rely on the software it’s very very wobbly!!! And time consuming too.

  6. cmeckenstock March 11, 2013 at 7:24 am #

    I really love this presentation. I thought it is great use of short text and images.

    I like the analysis and observations on membership and newbies. You have used the phrase a ‘self-proclaimed community” and ended with more questions if this group can be classified as a community – I thought this is done really well to reflect the status of a lot of self-proclaimed virtual communities. When one start to look around, we start to find a lot of these groups do not actually fall under the umbrella of a community, as the term is really a very fashionable word to use, and everyone wants to set up a community of some sort.

    Thank you! I will want to try slideshare sometime!

    • Steph Carr March 13, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

      Thanks Chantelle, I totally agree. Almost all platforms are now called communities a lot of which I wouldn’t recognise as such. Perhaps, though, the definition(s) of community will (have to) change to reflect its new usage?

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