Autoethnetnography: or does my neologism look fat in this?

In considering the mechanics of actually writing about my project, one of the early decisions I made was to engage in autoethnographic writing.

For the uninitiated, autoethnographic writing is, according to wikipedia,

“personal narrative or autobiography. An autoethnography is a reflexive account of one’s own experiences situated in culture. In other words, in addition to describing and looking critically at one’s own experience, an autoethnography is also a cultural accounting”

The idea being that I use this blog as a personal journal on my research journey. Not as much as I would have liked as been blogged here, but that is about to change.

But lately I’ve been reading about Netnography which, as a term created by Kozinets*, is

“a qualitative, interpretive research methodology that adapts the traditional, in-person ethnographic research techniques of anthropology to the study of the online cultures and communities formed through computer-mediated communications (“CMC”).”

Since one of the key components of autoethnography is the reflexive component — that is, reflecting on one’s own mental and emotional experiences in the events and situations being described — and one of the key components of netnography is that the research is conducted in an online setting, I am wondering if I might be the first to coin ‘autoethnetnography’: the personal reflections and considerations of research carried out online.

Particularly since my online research will be conducted in-world, where I am at arm’s length (or should it be ‘mouse length’?) from my avatar. I may type their words and control some of my avatar’s movements, but the little gestures and body posture movements of the avatar are generated by scripts, not by me. Yet those gestures and small movements all add to the ’story’ and experience under review.

A quick search of google shows no such use of ‘autoethnetnography’ yet…



* the best papers to get an understanding of netnography are

1. Kozinets, Robert V. (2002), “The Field Behind the Screen: Using Netnography for Marketing Research in Online Communities,” Journal of Marketing Research, 39 (February), 61-72

2. Sandlin, Jennifer A. (2007), “Netnography as a consumer education research tool,” International Journal of Consumer Studies, Vol. 31 Issue 3 (May), p288-294

but there are plenty of others that reflect on his original work.


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