Cya IRL: Researching digital communities online and offline

A Singaporean bricolage of the words ‘web blog’ and ‘shop’, blogshops are online commercial businesses that occur as web blogs. Web blogs are customizable websites primarily used to convey personal information. This is in distinction to commercial websites created entirely for viable exchanges because of the personal narrative and photographs weaved into every sale. A feature of such blogshops is the way in which blogshop owners feature their lives as a tool for selling products and appear to have a keen sense of self-awareness in the crafting of their personas and lifestyles published online. Blogshops also often organize ‘offline’ face-to-face settings such as exclusive parties at clubs, street markets, and collaborative blogshop storefronts in order to maintain a level of intimacy with their customers. Because blogshops constantly shift between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ manifestations, I draw on collaborative methodologies in my research. In my presentation, I will give a brief background on the context of this phenomenon and touch on three points regarding my collaborative methodologies: Firstly, I will discuss the ways in which I handled communication with participants both ‘online’ and ‘offline’. Secondly, I will discuss the ways in which ethnography differed ‘online’ and ‘offline’. Thirdly, I will discuss the ethical implications in adopting online/offline collaborative methodologies.

Abidin, C. (2012) “Cya IRL’: Researching digital communities online and offline” The 7th Annual Limina Conference – Humanizing Collaboration, University of Western Australia, Perth. Jun 6 – 8, 2012.

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