Reconsidering the Importance of Being Offline: ‘Real World’ Trajectories in Virtual Groups’ Life

Francesco Pisanu

Abstract

Over the last three decades hard distinctions have been made between on-line and off-line virtual groups features by computer mediated communication researchers,although activities occurring off the Internet have been largely neglected. The aim of my work is to describe methodological changes during virtual groups on-line towardsoff-line translations ethnography, to catch a third way between being on-line& off-line. This third way is near to Donna Haraway’s ‘cyborg’ idea, in which the person is part human and in part machine. From this point of view the ethnographicpractices seem to be always in part on-line and in part off-line, even when the researchfocus is just on physical settings or ‘virtual’ ones.

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