Ethnography Online

29 Oct

Carter and Boellstorff’s articles related the most to the assignment we were asked to do for this week. We are performing ethnographic research by visiting these communities and places in Second Life and observing the behavior, specifically the culture of the Second Life residence. Carter was looking specifically at the culture of Cybercity and the relationships that were formed. She looked mostly at the personal relationships revolving around friendship. She had over 20 people write short stories and or monologues describing their personal relationships. This is very similar to our assignment in regards to the field trips we are going on. We are write short stories in a journal entry form about the experiences we have each week. I find this the best method to reporting and discussing ethnographic studies. Carter talked about the idea of pseudonyms and how it brings about a means of anonymity. People can feel comfortable answering questions and partaking in online activity if the anonymity is there. However, there are always exceptions and anonymity is not always 100% guaranteed.

Boellstorff’s research is very similar to the way I am going about the field trips in Second Life. Tom Boellstorff picked an avatar with an identity similar but not exact to his real identity. He chose Tom Bukoswki instead of Tom Boellstorff and I picked sjwex instead of Sarah Joy Wexler.. His default avatar was a white male who was openly gay but throughout the course of his stay he changed fashion, gender, and species. I am currently a white female dressing very feminine but through the course of my field trips I want to change these aspects as well to see how my experiences change. Like Tom I explored the land, took a hot air balloon ride, and bought clothes where the residents shop. I watched and listened in to other Second Life users asking individuals questions about their life in Second Life. One individual said that he was there for 7 years. I found it very interesting that when Boellstorff interviewed second life residences they found it to be a rewarding experience and appreciated the chance to talk through these issues. Tom used both formal interviews and surveys and informal participant observations for his ethnographic studies. While we do not know if online behavior directly affects offline behavior, we can study events and identities in online worlds to see if they reference ideas from the actual world. In my opinion ethnographic studies are the most helpful kind and you can really learn a lot from observing others. 


Online Ethnography

29 Oct

Carter and Boellstorff’s articles related the best to our assignment this week and for the next few weeks in class. Our online journals are very similar to what Denise Carter talked about in her article. Carter had over 20 people write short stories and or monologues about their experiences in cybercity and other aspects of relationships such as friendship. This parallels the assignment we are asked to do where we compose journal entries after each field trip we take to another world in second life. I wrote about the relationship I had with a dog that would not leave me alone or stop following me. However, because individual chose to be a dog and not a person, yet tried to have an online relationship with me, I was weirded out and a little bit skeptical of the type of person this is. Carter also discussed the concept of pseudonyms, allowing anonymity and covering up the identity of the online user. However, not always does the anonymity stay that way which makes me wonder how safe are these online sites and how open and honest can people be if there is a chance of their person identity being revealed.

Boellstorff’s article talks about learning the culture of a particular world through formal research such as interviews and surveys and informal research such as participant observations. Boellstorff did something that I thought about doing for these field trips and journals. My default avatar has a name that is a variation of mine (he chose Tom Bukowski instead of Tom Boellstorff) and I chose sjwex instead of sarah joy wexler. Boellstorff also has his default avatar as a white male who is openly gay, and I chose my default avatar to be a white female with brown hair who likes to dress feminine. However, during his time in Second Life doing his ethnographic research, Boellstorff changed fashions, genders, and species which I thought about doing the same. My best experiences and stories will be experimenting with different avatars and casually interacting with people. I too took a hot air balloon ride, took a tour of the land, bought clothes where the residence of second life do and tried to familiarize myself with as much of second life as I could. There were people in my area that were asking other avatars how long they had been in second life and why. I found their answers to be very interesting, one in particular had been there for 7 years. Something Boellstorff said was that second life residence found the interviews he conducted to be a rewarding experience and appreciated the chance to talk through certain issues they had been pondering for some time. Sometimes events and identities in these virtual worlds can reference ideas from the actual world and we can learn a lot! I found all the research these individuals did to be very interesting and informative to our society. As you can see people in these online communities are willing to talk so we should go out there and find out more!

We Are Wizards

8 May

Media is being consumed in many different ways than it used to be. What people can find and share on the Internet today is incredible compared to what we used to find and share. We consume media very differently and want to see new things being shared on the Internet every time we go on to use it. There is that constant demands from the fans of wanting something more and having Warner Brothers give them that new and exciting up to date media. It was interesting how one of the women said she is so excited because how many people can say they were apart of this and apart of something great and different. Fan culture is bigger than ever before. So many ideas come from movies or music which creates this whole fantasy lifestyle. Fan culture is HUGE and people go above and beyond to share all the information they can about what they know. I find it absolutely amazing how people take something from the media and make it real life and almost forget that this is all “make believe” content.

Creative Commons

8 May

I was able to link to pictures and songs but had a hard time with the movie aspect of creative commons. The pictures were very easy to chose from. All I had to do was chose flickr, google, etc. and type in the genre of picture I was looking for. I was able to adjust the quality by looking at all the sizes that the pictures came in. The music was a little more challenging. I had to first find a song on youtube and then take it and convert it to an mp3 where I could save it to my computer and then drag and drop it into the movie player. These features can be used in the final projects in ways such as slides or infomercials. The pictures can enhance the video or whatever being made by showing intense pictures or relatable pictures to your project. The music can be done for the same purpose, to add depth to the project. What is great about creative commons is the license feature. Day One will be sure that we credited every picture and song used so they know its for public use and they will not get in trouble for using it on their site or for something possibly bigger in the future.


8 May


Memes are certainly not popular with everyone in the technology community. There are some diehard fans of memes and some, who like me, have never created or used memes and probably never will. These Memes relate to media in everyday life which we went over in the beginning of class because people respond to issues related to them and things that interest them. The overwhelming response from the memes comes from the culture it created. The memes I looked at and picked have nothing in common besides that they are funny. I like these three because they were the first three memes I came across that I found humorous and made me laugh out loud. Memes can help you express yourself by showing your funny side or your creative side. If you like dogs you can create dog memes, if you like politics you can create political memes, and so on. I think that the purpose of memes these days are to make people laugh but also to gain awareness for certain topics. Originally when people make political memes, for example, I do not think they ultimately have the goal of creating publicity for that figure I think most of the time it just happens. The overall function of memes is to be creative and gain notoriety individually for having the best memes on the internet. I think that memes can be incorporated into school projects and such but due to the typical humor of memes I feel that they might be inappropriate for our Day One abuse projects. Memes are supposed to be clever and humorous and this topic is certainly not either of those so in my opinion memes cannot be used in this circumstance.

13 Apr

The first big milestone that our group accomplished was revising our script that we are using for the project and making it fit better into the time frame. We worked hard to make sure everyone had fairly equal speaking parts and the content was educational and to the point. The second milestone is that we decided how we are going to film the project and what forms of media we will use. We decided that half the script will be pictures and screenshots of conversations between the couples and the friends. The other half will be live conversations that take place through skype to make the interactions more real and show better emotions. Our first hurdle was the creative commons website. We all found it very difficult to use and navigate. The second hurdle we are finding is coming up with times to meet so we can film the project. Being that it is the end of the semester and we all have final projects, papers and exams we are all trying to come up with the most efficient way to film fast and still make the project the best it can be. We will be using songs at the end of the presentation when the websites and abuse statistics are scrolling on the page and telling viewers where to find help. We also used Google Docs presentations to do our end slides and we will be using I-Movie to help with the filming and ordering of the scenes.

Google Doc

30 Mar

My groups creativity has amazed me. The idea came from Sarah P who was just throwing around ideas like everyone else. Slowly but surely the creative juices started flowing and I can honestly say that Mike, Dan, Sarah and myself all had a part in the creation. We chose to start off with a simple topic and expand on it. I think we are using the right media such as Facebook, screencasting, as well as utilizing helpful websites to educate and show statistics.  Our creativity is ever evolving and the direction we are going in is expanding. We have an excellent idea about how to hook our audience and brining our presentation full circle. The storyboard will look simple but will actually portray a lot. We are keeping it simple with basic pictures but including a lot of helpful information and a powerful story line. We will have two couples communicating over facebook and using screenshots to show what they are saying and how they are feeling. Even though the project sounds simple we are targeting a specific audience and using stories that relate to them and media that’s easily accessible.