My ethnography is live!

And can be found here: (I can’t see a way to add this to the ethnographies page myself so am hoping a trackback here will do the trick).

I will post a little more about it in my weekly summary later today/tomorrow.

Please leave comments either on the site or on this blog post – whatever you are most comfortable with.


  1. jen
    Posted November 9, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t figure out how to comment on your google site, so am reverting to blog! Also, your screenshots of tweets didn’t seem to load for me, so I missed that bit.

    “I’m crying right now. Oh my god” – can’t decide whether the xtranormal video is a clever comment on digital presence or just completely creepy, but I did like that. :-)

    Your suggested framework for analysing Twitter community interactions (social network capital, knowledge capital and communion as follows, retweets and replies) is great – and I also appreciated your note on ethics and the possibility of transgressing boundaries by preserving what is usually thought to be ephemeral.

    Your musings on fan culture reminded me of Mimi Ito et al and their recent work on youth practices – they call it ‘geeking out’ –

    Your modes of participation as vocalisations is creative – does it problematise the relative disembodiment of textual-digital spaces like Twitter?

    Lots to think about here – I really enjoyed this!

  2. Tony McNeill
    Posted November 9, 2009 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff Nicola – your ethnographic micro-study felt more like a final piece of work for assessment! I’m not a Torchwood watcher but I am interested in the ‘new audience studies’ (”audience studies 2.0″) and the role of social media in enabling new forms of distributed audience interactions. I’m not a cricket fan either but remember that last summer’s Ashes were called the ‘Twitter Ashes’ – something really intriguing happening …

  3. Posted November 9, 2009 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Jen, Tony, Thanks for the lovely comments! ;)

    I’ll post a link to the other (matching) slideshow I made on the ethnography in case anyone else has the same problem with the Picassa one loading (it’s here if you want a peek:

    Thanks for the link to Mimi Ito et al’s work, I will definitely take a further look. The fan culture around #Torchwood really blew me away ;) And like you say, Tony, emerging behaviours around social media and audience interaction is really fascinating right now.

    There is something quite peculiar about the disembodiment of Twitter hashtags in particular. Clicking through to view all the posts on a hashtag can be like those scenes in bad slapstick movies where the leads duck through a door and find themselves in a chinese laundry or a brothel or a knitting club or something… a whole other world at close but almost invisible proximity.

  4. Sarah Payne
    Posted November 10, 2009 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Hi Nicola

    Loved this piece – very well thought out and I enjoyed the slightly creepy annimation!

    This piece of research remined me of a quote from Hand that the internet will:

    “help build a genuinely communitarian civic culture, contituting a ‘brave new world where heart and sould are restored to tht body politic by giving voice to the voiceless and public space to the individual’” Hand 2008 (pg 16)

    The sad demise of Ianto Jones left many feeling helpless in the face of a ‘tragedy’ and the first response was a rush of outrage that this could be allowed (by the makers of Torchwood) to take place. Cries of “how could they” resounded. Save Ianto Jones seems to have arisen out of this to show displeasure at a programming choice and possibly to try to ‘encourage’ the makers of Torchwood to find a way to resurect Ianto (as anything in is possible in the Who-niverse).

    As a result, an activist group has been formed out of what would usually be a sofa-based discussion between 2 or 3 people at best. So unlike many of the ethnographys we have seen this week, the internet has created this community, not simply transfered it from the real to the virtual.

    This group has gone on to raise money for charity while still keeping the activism alive and therefore increasing their own profile and possibly increasing the volume of their own voices.

    very interesting!

  5. Posted November 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Sarah, I really like your comment about how the internet transforms this community from little interested sofa clusters to a vocal activist group and that connection back to Hand. Thanks ;)

  6. lesley ferguson
    Posted December 2, 2009 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Hi Nicola, I’ve learned such a lot from your project….I’m not very ‘up’ on terminology I didn’t know what a ‘ping’ was. lol your structure and navigation and colour schemes were very inviting. I felt at ease on your site and comfortable in the knowledge I knew where I was going and where I wanted to go and how I could get back again- this make sense? Loved the term ‘power tweeters’ should I aspire to be one? lol really enjoyed your E.

  7. Posted December 3, 2009 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Leslie, thanks for the lovely comments ;) They are especially useful as I’m thinking about how to present my final assignment, particularly navigation and hosting options so you couldn’t have timed your comments better! :-D

    I think you should definitely aim to be a Power Tweeter btw! I’m really not one yet but I can only imagine the useful responses you might get since I managed to find some useful references for a presentation through a request to my Tweeps yesterday ;)

    - n.

  8. gravitule
    Posted April 1, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Just discovered your ethnography. It’s interesting and fun but at the same time a little odd to read about your assumptions on me.
    By the way I am from France as stated in my profile and not in the UK. Not many French on twitter, that’s why I mainly use it to vent re Torchwood and not to talk with friends (except the campaign fellows now) because all my french friends are more on facebook. I opened this account July 10 because I was looking for reactions and could see that a lot were on twitter. It’s only late in August that I started campaigning because I was upset with the way RTD reacted and with the reply I got from the BBC.
    Initially I came also from Live Journal by the way. Now you know everything!
    And I changed my Twitter account. It’s now HW308_gravitule. The old one got filtered because of #Ianto spamming at some point!
    Maybe just one critic: you choose an extremely quite day to do the study. Hence this doesn’t show well the connexions between the twitt people.


  9. Posted April 1, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Permalink


    I’m so pleased you found my ethnography – thank you so much for commenting and letting me know! I can imagine it must be quite weird reading my observations so I’m particularly grateful that you’ve filled in some of the blanks. I am intrigued at how the LiveJournal community and Twitter activity interacts. I used to be a LiveJournal blogger so it’s nice to see that it carries on being a lively communal space.

    I undertook the ethnography for a module I was doing for my MSc in eLearning so the the day I took the all the Tweets from was fairly quiet just because of the time I had available for the work (a few weeks in the middle of the module). I was on Twitter the night the Ianto death aired and I was watching (and joining in) the angry Tweets myself – that was what triggered my interest in covering Torchwood tweets in the first place. With that in mind I hope the campaign has some positive effects – I haven’t heard what the future of Torchwood is but I would love to see it (and Ianto – who knows how but it’s sci-fi so there are all sorts of possibilities) return.

    Thank you again for reading my ethnography and leaving your comments. You’ve made my day!

    - Nicola.

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Sarah Payne posted Comments on: My ethnography is live!. [...]

  2. [...] Shared 20 Questions with Mimi Ito | Standard Imagination interviews cultural anthropologist, Mimi Ito about her findings in The Digital Youth Study..9:41pm via Delicious – this was a link shared with me originally via the comments on my ethnography [...]

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