With as many as 1 billion people now using online communities such as newsgroups, blogs, forums, social networking sites, podcasting, videocasting, photosharing communities, and virtual worlds, the internet is now an important site for research.
This exciting new text is the first to explore the discipline of 'Netnography' – the conduct of ethnography over the internet – a method specifically designed to study cultures and communities online. For the first time, full procedural guidelines for the accurate and ethical conduct of ethnographic research online are set out, with detailed, step-by-step guidance to thoroughly introduce, explain, and illustrate the method to students and researchers.
The author also surveys the latest research on online cultures and communities, focusing on the methods used to study them, with examples focusing on the new elements and contingencies of the blogosphere (blogging), microblogging, videocasting, podcasting, social networking sites, virtual worlds, and more.
This book will be essential reading for researchers and students in social sciences such as anthropology, sociology, marketing and consumer research, organization and management studies, and cultural and media studies.