While noting the wide variety of digital technologies already in use, Hsu challenges ethnographers to go further. She describes how she uses webscraping to gather data, reveal limitations of software, and gain further information about online communities. Hsu believes the exploration of digital data gathering needs more development. In this article she provides an overview of software methods, mapping, and “seeing textures” in data. Hsu has practical examples of ways ethnographers can use technology—if they are willing to learn some new skills. Her use of mapping and geo-tagging is particularly helpful, since few online communities are confined to a limited geographic area.
Part two of a series on whether ethnographers can use software as part of their research, Wendy Hsu gives a resounding yes. In this blog post, Hsu describes how she uses mapping and geo-location to clarify her data. Hsu moves away from data collected as text and focuses on spatial, geographical, and positional data as part of her research into fan distribution of a music group. Hsu uses a combination of APIs and open source software to make sense of her data. This post is somewhat dated, using Myspace as the example website, but still provides relevant information, particularly in light of the increasing use of geo-tagging and geo-fencing across desktop sites and mobile apps.