An Army of 1 – Field Report #1

I walked to the parking garage in the darkness, my heart was racing almost as quickly as my mind.  I was afraid, anxious and agitated.  My stomach had that deep ache that told me what I was about to undertake something that was not in my nature, yet it was something I had to do. Signing on for the social media research class, I was being sent deep behind enemy lines.

The objective was clear –  infiltrate the enemy, learn their language and methods, assess their tools and the value of their tactics, and bring home the information for those outside of the social media culture to benefit from.  That said, a clear mission does not necessarily make for an easy one.

“Hiding” in plain sight, I listened to them speaking through the first class;  the words were cryptic yet sounded strangely familiar.  I struggled to connect the pieces of information that I was able to make sense of.  Clearly their language would require more than just a casual field book to interpret.

In spite of the language barrier, they appeared amazingly friendly, collaborative, and willing to share their “secrets”;  I will need to remain diligent, I suspect this approach is part of their recruitment strategy…

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3 comments on “An Army of 1 – Field Report #1

  1. Mihaela says:

    How about you adopt a more open, ethnographic approach, that’s fueled by curiosity alone, without the enmity feelings?

    Every ethnographer experiences anxiety, confusion, culture shock, and fatigue when entering a new culture. It helps to find a guide, or an informant – someone who will take you under her sleeve and show you around. I can promise you there’s at least one here 🙂

    Here is a related note: One of the best compliments I ever received. Know others have been there, done that, and have benefited from it. https://twitter.com/#!/KarenSolomons/statuses/103859543582314497

    • genxrecon says:

      Perhaps my first lesson in using social media, … humorous metaphors do not always convert in SMS space. Let me take another run at my thoughts from class number 1…
      I look forward to learning all that is new, different and challenging. For me, the social media space is all that challenge and more. My research in generational perspectives necessarily leads me to social media, the “brave new world” of the Millennial generation, the curious space of the Baby Boom generation and the uncertain space of Generation X. As an X’er, and infant blogger – I have the opportunity to share not only all that I am hearing, seeing and learning, but also to share all sides of the emotional journey; the curiosity, novelty and anxiety of learning a new language, the fear of participating in something that is outside ones cultural norm, and the truth of personal discovery along the way. The ethnographic approach you recommend and the recommendation of your prior student is exactly what I was looking forward to in this class. It would seem in spite of all I have t learn about blogging and social media, and the trips I will make along the way, I am exactly where I should be to get the perfect view…

  2. Mihaela says:

    You’ll see that I am one of unfortunately few professors who take into considerations and try to help with the emotional side of learning, which too many of us ignore. I am glad to see you acknowledge it and work with it. But I am not a big fan, as you can tell, of war metaphors 🙂

Looking forward to your thoughts and comments!

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