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Ethnography

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  • 1. Ethnography An Insight into social video networking By Oliver Gibbs
  • 2. The Aim • This project will explore how online video networking affects peoples intentions whilst visually interacting with somebody online, in comparison to face to face socialising. • Audio/Video Networks such as Skype for example have been used in recent years as simple alternatives to events that traditionally involve face to face dialogue such as business meetings. • To investigate the contrasts and comparisons between video networking and real life social interactions, I have decided to use the controversial ‘Chatroulette’ (chatroulette.com) using many different methods.
  • 3. Chatroulette • Chatroulette is infamous online due to it’s general concept. • Once a user connects his/her webcam and searches, they are randomly connected to another individual and free to broadcast and talk about whatever they want. • An individual has a choice to ‘stop’, ‘next’, or stay if he/she wishes at any time obviously.
  • 4. Initial Research • For the first part of the experiment, I went onto the site by myself and conducted very informal interviews regarding why exactly they were using the site at the time, and what they generally enjoy about it. • All conversations throughout this investigation were recorded by Bandicam.
  • 5. Initial Results • To get a round of reactions from people on a global basis, I decided to space my times apart on the site, thus taking advantage of all time zones. • It was a lot more difficult than expected, for several reasons that will be explained. • Those who displayed their identities on screen will be left anonymous throughout the display of the research. • 4 males, 5 females, and two groups were interviewed on camera.
  • 6. Mixed Reactions • Reactions were mixed, possibly due to massively cultures in the interviews, but the opinions still helped with the investigation. • One male appearing to be in his early thirties from Hungary stated in a short interview that he was comfortable talking to people on the site, stating that it was easy to ‘walk away without feeling awkward’. • It was not only apparent from this reaction, but from the rate in which people skip partners that demonstrates the draining of many emotions the world of online networking brings.
  • 7. Mixed Reactions • One female from Thailand claiming to be a student responded to the question I asked regarding her about her reasons being on the site by simply stating to be addicted. Interested yet confused with the response, I continued to ask what exactly she found addictive, to which she responded with making friendly conversations, despite expressing her dislike of people who use the site for sexual purposes.
  • 8. Further Examination • For the next part of the experiment, I found that it was necessary to investigate whether certain types of people are comforted more than others on Chatroulette. • This would be achieved by taking three times of the day to each scroll through 20 users, whilst taking note of their gender, estimated age and amount of people on camera. • These three times of the day included morning at approximately 11am, 5pm and 11pm.
  • 9. Results Under 17 Young Adult Mature Adult Over 45 Male Female Groups The results clearly depict here that the majority of chatroulette users are male, most of them whom are likely to be young adults.
  • 10. Research Analysis • From both these results as well as the results from the interview, it seemed logical to assume that young adult males perhaps felt comfortable talking to young adult women online from an equally comfortable distance. • Groups however didn’t seem to care too much about who they were on camera with. In fact, it would be also logical to assume that groups were more attracted to the sites infamy, and instead wanted to take advantage of more humorous factors of online video broadcasting.
  • 11. The Gender Factor • To put the gender factor to the test, I decided to conduct three ten minute sessions with ten volunteers. • Whilst these volunteers were using the site, I instructed them to keep a friendly conversation for as long as possible with who ever was randomly generated. • During this time, the average conversation length was recorded, as well as the average ‘next’ rate. • Out of these volunteers (including myself) five were male, and five were female.
  • 12. A Male Experience • Average duration of conversation out of five participants: 7.3 seconds. • Average ‘next’ rate out of five participants in ten minutes: 18 • It is clear from the first half of this research that young adult males particularly tend to skip other males before words have even been exchanged.
  • 13. A Female Experience • Average duration of conversation out of five participants: 1 minute 4.3 seconds. • Average ‘next’ rate out of five participants in ten minutes: 4 • It is even now further logical to suggest that females on Chatroulette are undoubtedly seeked out by young adult males due to the low proportion of female users possibly.
  • 14. Final Conclusions and Summary • To conclude that the majority of males visit Chatroulette for sexual reasons would be quite unfair. Although this factor is what arguably makes it so controversial, there are other factors to consider when discussing the difference between online video networking and real life face to face social interaction. • It is however in almost all cases fair to say that video networking sites and programmes offer a sense of escapism to all who wish to feel secure knowing they have technical control of a conversation, whilst remaining in their comfort zones.