Digital Ethnography

Moore (2018) defines ‘Digital’ as something that is dialogical, always in motion, connected to processes such as electronics, changeable and easy to overwrite. Digital ethnography is a way of researching the experience of reality transformed, or mediated by the digital through “theory and empirical observation” (Moore 2018). A key element of digital ethnography is researching experiences, often by participant observation of digital activities such as gaming. To conduct an autoethnographic study of my own digital behaviour and the subsequent experience, I could visit many aspects of my life. I rely on the digital world for many day to day activities. For example, I use the internet to obtain information for university work and I constantly keep up with friends and family using social media.

The digital space also provides entertainment through other social media platforms such as YouTube, as well as with technologies such as video games. I highly engage in both activities and I have previously taken an ethnographic look at YouTube here. Gaming is an interesting thing to look at in regards to digital ethnography as the activity has evolved along with technology. As a result, the way people play games and why they do so has changed over time.


Credit: David Grandmougin

For example, gaming with friends was something that was only possible if you were together using the same console. Online gaming has shaped the video game landscape by changing how we play but also why we play. eSports has become very popular in recent years and some gamers undertake gaming as a sport for their careers.

I find myself only playing a few video games now that I’ve gotten older, I particularly enjoy sport games such as FIFA and NBA. These games require little effort in terms of set up and many game modes have no longevity so you can play as much as you want very quickly, you don’t have to constantly keep returning to play a story like games of other genres. I also don’t particular enjoy the idea of online gaming as much as I used to, when I play games with friends I tend to do it in person using the same console. Digital ethnography has allowed us to explore how games are played differently and for a range of reasons between individuals.

Reference List:

Moore, C 2018, ‘Digital Ethnography’, Prezi, 23 August, viewed 27 August, <>.

Header Image Source: jeshoots

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