Thursday, September 29, 2005

Life online

Whether one studies the Internet as a social structure or utilizes Internet-based technologies as tools for research, Internet-based technologies change the research scenario. Computer-mediation has a significant influence on many aspects of communication practice and theory. The internet has
similarities to many earlier media for communication, such as letter writing, telephone, telegraph, post-it notes, and so forth. At the same time, the capacities and uses of Internet communication are unique in configuration and shape a user’s (and thus the researcher’s) perceptions and interactions.
These influences extend beyond the interpersonal; outcomes of these communication processes have the potential to shift sensemaking practices at the cultural level. We are, as Gergen (1991) notes, saturated in technologies. The Internet and associated communication media permeate and alter interactions and the possible outcomes of these interactions at the dyadic, group, and cultural level. Equally, Internet technologies have the potential to shift the ways in which qualitative researchers collect, make sense of, and represent data.
In online environments, self, other, and social structures are constituted through interaction, negotiated in concert with
others. The extent to which information and communication technology (ICT) can mediate one’s identity and social relations should call us to epistemological attention. Whether or not we do research of physical or online cultures, new communication technologies highlight the dialogic features of social reality, compelling scholars to reexamine traditional assumptions and
previously taken-for-granted rubrics of social research.

This is from Annette Markham here.

This is very interesting I think. markham talks about the research scenario having changed. Does that mean we have to adjust our research tools?

Blogging as a social practice is a VERY interesting thing; it changes so much about what I understand about the meaning of the word 'text', 'author' and 'narrative'. But does that mean we research differently? Do we have to have new tools? New ways of looking? New ways of finding out?

My experience as a blogger is that I feel I put a lot of who I am here in this space; the posts are closely tied to my many selves. While there is variety in the posts there is also I think, a sense of me as female, as academic, as who I am. Markham looks closely at the potential to be other in th eonline space and to experimet. But here, I feel I am intensely me.

Despite this, I also agree so much with what she writes, for there are so many possibilities online - more to think about here.

I need views on whether research in the online space needs to be qualitatively different.


(Lots more Markham here.)

1 comment:

Kate said...

This is v. interesting Dr Joolz. re the qualitative stuff I think that what you have is layered, through the histories of the commenters, and your history as blogger.
You are re-creating your identity in practice anew as you blog each day, but also alluding to past blogs.
You also do everyday life (the supermarket) the gym (ha) and your immense work load (give me some) and these appear almost as artifacts of your identity.
The a word!
But the way of researching this is through attention to time and space and also reflexivity.
The answer is: ethnography.
(I would say that).

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Sheffield, South Yorks, United Kingdom
I am an academic interested in New Literacies, Digital Lifestyles, Informal Online Learning.