“Digital” Ethnography – The Study of Internet Culture
by Joe La Sac
Digital Ethnography is a study, an anthropological discipline. Professor Wesch (blog) at Kansas State University has a team of students every year study the internet and its new trends. I tend to think academics are generally behind the major trends, not participating in them or generating them. But one of KSU’s methodological principles is known as “participant observation“, whereby the observer-academics take part themselves in the trends that shape online culture. Sometimes, as Prof. Wesch’s very viral 2007 YouTube video demonstrated to the world, the academics can become an internet phenomenon themselves.
If you participate in internet culture at all, like if you read a blog or have a myspace, you’ll enjoy watching this exciting hour-long lecture by Prof. Wesch. One of the students who participated in KSU’s Digital Ethnography project during the first year, self-nicknamed “thepoasm” (also featured in the following video), I was following on YouTube and watching her weekly vlog posts last year. She has very insightful reflections on the nature of the internet and what it’s like to participate in online culture. I recommend checking out her YouTube page.