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Crossing the "divide": Virtual ethnography in the "real world"


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This presentation documents an aspect of my autoethnographic doctoral thesis that investigated issues of identity and community. The presentation explores the inter-connected and overlapping nature of social media sites such as Bebo, Myspace, and more recently Facebook and Twitter, with peoples’ offline experiences. Such sites are representational spaces that extend the offline self into the online world. Through the use of text, images, and
video, my participants expressed their personal and social identities online, as a way to encourage interactions with like-minded people in order to further develop identity. Through the on-going development of these sites, users develop not only representational spaces, but also interactional spaces for developing and experiencing community. These websites are interwoven into peoples’ everyday experiences and routines. People update Facebook
statuses to tell others what they had for breakfast that morning, post embarrassing photographs and comment, or attempt to relive sensual experiences of sights, sounds, and
even smells of events they have attended together or separately. The online realm is also brought into the offline one, with people scrambling for a camera, accompanied by the modern day catchphrase of “don’t pose like that or it’ll end up on Facebook” What this means
is that rather than being distinct, mutually exclusive spaces, social networking sites are but one of many physical and virtual spaces that people travel across, through, and within their everyday lives. People interact with both online and offline spaces, layering them with meaning and linking them together through social interactions.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: virtual, Facebook, online, auto-ethnography, place, social networking
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Corporate > Research Office
Depositing User: Dave Snell
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2012 07:46
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 03:02

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