Robert Kozinets, who coined the term “netnography,” examines the ways online ethnography was used by Campbell’s Soup to learn more about the behaviors and ideas of their customers. For Campbell’s, “a netnographer would study why and how people swap recipes and soup stories, analyzing how these experiences fit into their daily lives.” Kozinets explains how social networks give companies a glimpse into the lives of their customers and can use seemingly random posts to gauge the health of a community. Brand managers could learn a lot from the kind of research Campbell’s conducted, which gave the company concrete initiatives that, once implemented, increased unique monthly visitors from 120,000 to more than a million in just a few months.
This article examines the research involving an online community of English language teachers, known as Webheads in Action (WiA). This article provides an inside look not at the community, but at the ways the researchers examined and participated in the community. The article describes the ways the research team experienced netnography in opposition to traditional ethnography. It includes ways of defining the field, fieldnotes and data gathering, dynamics of interviewing, and the importance of having the expertise in multiple online technologies. This article is useful for any beginning netnographer who is looking for practical advice before beginning online research.
Written by Robert Kozinets, who coined the term netnography to mean “qualitative method devised specifically to investigate the consumer behavior of cultures and communities present on the Internet,” this is the definitive text for those seeking to engage in netnographic research. In this book, Kozinets gives an overview of netnographic research methods and walks the reader through data collection and analysis. While the examples are somewhat dated, Kozinets does spend time talking about potential developments in web 2.0 communities and ways of expanding netnography to meet the needs of researchers of the future.
Kozinets, R. V. (2010). Netnography: Doing Ethnographic Research Online. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
This video presentation features two students of Robert Kozinets. The students give an overview of netnography and describe how they used netnography to conduct market research for Listerine and also examine the class’s own Facebook group. Kozinets joins the students at the end of the video to take part in a question and answer session. The students provide valuable information to new researchers by describing their experiences from beginning to end. Having Kozinets weigh in is an added bonus.
Robert Kozinets coined the term netnography to mean “qualitative method devised specifically to investigate the consumer behavior of cultures and communities present on the Internet.” This interview with Kozinets reveals his thoughts on traditional v. internet anthropology and ways the internet has changed during his twenty years of online research. He also discusses what he considers the two keys to netnography: finding interesting and relevant data among what already exists and paying attention to one’s role in the process. Kozinets has interesting thoughts on search engines, such as a suggestion for tagged audiovisual materials in results.