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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Migrations 

Street Piano 2 by on-the-run
Street Piano 2, a photo by on-the-run on Flickr.
Constance Steinkuehler talks about her work as migratory ethnography, and this description conjures two possible descriptions of research in digital worlds. One is practice- (or text-) focused and would turn the lens on how particular literacies and textual formations migrate across sites and between communities, whereas a second interpretation would look at how people migrate across sites over a period of time. They both have some relevance to what I've been thinking about Flickr lately - sparked by the fact that my subscription is up for renewal. Basically I started thinking about whether my subscription is justified by my usage and my level of participation in the Flickr community. Funnily enough just after my renewal reminder when I was wondering whether Flickr had had its day, I got Flickr mail from someone who was interested in the Street Piano photographs - wanted to initiate something similar at an arts festival and was asking for permission to use my pictures. This fascinated me - I'd already written about how the Street Piano became a 'slippery narrative' weaving its way between the real and the digital - and here it was again entering a new phase of migration! And this just at the point when I was considering leaving Flickr. I've now reconsidered; but it does make me think how Web 2.0 does produce rather transitory audiences/producers. Bloggers come and go, I deserted Last.FM in favour of Blip.FM and I find I've lost interest in Twitter. It would be interesting to trace people's migrations, to understand why they move and which practices they take with them into new environments. At least people continue to tickle the ivories!

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