Monday, February 27, 2012

Shifting Ground

Baym and Markham:

After reading your article, my main focus was on the points you both raised about the blurring of the line separating the private and public due to the Internet, in addition to how the convergence of media changes how researchers can conduct their studies. Your article states: "The (seemingly) neat worlds of face-to-face embodied conversation, public speaking, landline telephones, radio, television, and film have all but collapsed into a tangled web of  video clips sent over mobile phones, music played over computers, refrigerators that suggest recipes on built-in computer screens, and sites like Youtube where clips of a broadcast television show sit on the same platform alongside home-made videos." This illustrates the face that there are many sources of information that researchers have to look into because the Internet has led to the increase of these sources. Trying to conduct qualitative research on the Internet means that researchers have to look at geographical characteristics, the type of information being used by users (which is already a lot of work on its own!), what type of users are using the information, etc. There is just way too much to be done in order to pinpoint the answer to the question that is being researched. Another thing, this convergence leading to the blurring of private and public is interesting and the fact that the blurring of this line is affecting research is also interesting. I can see how it would be related to ethics because you cannot violate someone's privacy by collecting their data without their knowledge -- BUT, if this "private" information is communicated using a  "public" medium, is it still unethical? I could not have done research on the Internet because it seems like way too much work to answer a challenging question. Although it does seem quite interesting, I just don't think that I could dedicate my time to doing such vigorous and extensive research. Kudos to you guys.


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