Digital Anthropology

Early efforts to reconcile my anthropology degree with my nascent social media career were tenuous at best. True… cultural anthropology attempts to understand the connection of people with others as well as the mysterious world around them. Or in other words, anthropology tries to explain everything - so in that sense, yes - anthropology aptly readied me for the fledgling industry of social media (social media is undoubtedly something).

That is, until, I discovered Michael Wesch, who assisted in justifying the use of my anthropology degree towards the efforts of social media. An associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University. Wesch has popularized, if not defined, the concept of digital anthropology and digital ethnography. Simply stated, digital ethnography is the process of using nearly century-old methods of understanding human action and interaction applied to new media.

In particular; Wesch has been profoundly effective at using video to explore and explain the burgeoning digital landscape.

Every couple of months, I re-watch his video catalogue, which re-energizes and re-enthuses my inquisitiveness in social media.

Although, not for everyone, if you are inclined to attempt to frame social media within an academic context, I highly suggest the following videos. The first is short - if it piques your interest. I recommend grabbing an adult beverage and viewing the second.