Trying to Move Forward (MSTU 4020; Week 8)

This is exactly what I look like while typing this post & trying to narrow down a topic for the final project (except for the blond hair).


This week's prompt ask 1) What do I think I need in order to move forward on a final project? and 2) how can I get what I need?

The assumption is that I've identified some themes and I've begun to refine my questions. I've certainly identified some themes, though it seems that while trying to refine my questions only more of them spring up.  For instance, after reading Nicholas W. Jankowski's article "Creating Community with Media: History, Theories, and Scientific Investigation, I began to ask myself more questions related to Baym's (1999) questions:

  • What forces shape online identities?
  • How do online communities evolve overtime?
  • How does online participation connect to offline life?
  • How do online communities influence offline communities?

I've asked similar questions throughout the semester (though stated a bit differently). Here's what I have so far:

  • What is the difference between 'real' and virtual?
  • How does our participation with/in both 'real' and virtual relate to identity formulation?
  • What makes up a virtual terrain; cyberspace?
  • What constructs virtual space? Identities? Data?
  • What is the relationship between identity and data within cyberspace?
  • Does defining the space of cyberspace even matter?
  • How does identity formulation occur and knowledge production emerge from/within digitally connective spaces and processes?
  • How can we measure identity formulation in relation to our participation with/in digitally connective spaces and processes?
  • How can we measure how knowledge production/creation emerges within digitally connective spaces?
  • What can other disciplines and theories, aside from sociology and communication, tell us about what cyberspace is, our relation to it, and our participation with/in it (identity formulation & knowledge production)?

So in other words, I have no idea where to begin for the final project.

Moving forward, I really need to hone in on one or two of the questions above. It seems that most of the questions deal with identity formulation and knowledge production, and how we can measure them both epistemologically and ethnographically. The philosophical questions of what is cyberspace? and what constitutes real/virtual? may be, as professor Kinzer noted in class, career-long inquiries (paraphrasing).

In terms of what I need? To be on the look out for more perspectives and readings that address identity formulation, ethnography, discoursive practices, and epistemology of online and digitally connective spaces/processes.