Bloggin’ about hindsight… in hindsight

From the beginning of this semester auto ethnography has been equally easy and difficult to understand. So with this paradox comes hard work to try and reflect and focus on exactly how to apply auto ethnography to the YouTube community. As Ellis, Adams and Bochner (2011) discuss, auto ethnography is not just describing but analyse your personal experience.

Applying this to my personal research has been an experiment as this topic is exactly new to me, but having to assess my reactions and feelings towards the YouTube community has provided new insights into my understanding of the culture of fans and ‘prosumers’.

Honestly, I spent so much time watching YouTube and being entertained that I forget about the auto ethnography, but that in itself is an interesting comment on how the YouTube community can affect you. The entertainment and belonging factor of these videos is so high I often forget why I’m there in the first place. Through this I’ve fallen into the community myself. My digital artefact has been a blog profiling different YouTubers, their comments and their fandoms. This has been a great experience, to focus on one and see wholly what their YouTube experience is like and how this affects others.

In the Ellis, Adams and Bochner (2011) article discusses how writers often note down their ‘epiphanies’, while I’m yet to have any I’m keen to try and write more as I go. I feel like perhaps this is where I am lacking in my auto ethnographical experience, there should be thoughts on a page to be later synthesised, as opposed to writing in hindsight. Definitely some things to work on! I may even revisits some older posts and write on how I think about them now! Maybe even to add more posts to get the most of of writing my first reaction to truly gauge how I feel? Thoughts?


Ellis, C., Adams, T. E. and Bochner, A. P. 2011, ‘Autoethnography: an overview’, Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 12, no. 1, viewed online at


  1. I also found it difficult to be aware of how I was feeling while doing research for this subject. But I guess in a sense unpacking the reason ‘why’ we become unaware can be auto-ethnographical in itself. It certainly seems like you have become a ‘participant observer’ within these Youtube communities, communicating and participating naturally with those you are in fact researching, which would certainly achieve a greater understanding of these communities and give insight to ‘outsiders’ like myself (I have never even commented on a Youtube video). I think I have maybe had some epiphanies, but I forget haha! I wish I had this hindsight before I started blogging. Which is where it gets tricky, do I go back and change my posts? Add more into them? Or just accept this as part of the journey and move forward. I guess maybe you could use the comments section to add a little more of your personal experience and add how hindsight would have changed your post, you could then submit your comments with those full blog posts? Connfffuuuusssing!!


  2. Hey Lauren,

    I feel as if we are in the same boat in the sense that we are technically aware of auto-ethnography, though confused about how to convey our research auto-ethnographically. From reading what you plan to produce for your digital artifact, I can honestly say that I would LOVE to check it! From entering this class, everyone seems to be so attune with famous Youtubers and bloggers. Knowing that you will be profiling these people is great because I am currently very unaware of any of them!!

    I feel that if you are concerned about the auto-ethnographic side to this artifact, perhaps you should choose to make your blog more of a review rather than a series of profiles?? You could include all the same information but just include a personal opinion on the blogger/Youtuber?? This would give you the personal experience aspect to it and also make the artifact more subjective as opposed to a presentation of information??

    Sounds great! Can’t wait to check it out!


  3. The fact you say that you often lose yourself in these YouTube videos and forget you are even analysing them autoethnographically I would suspect is a good thing. When it comes time to reflect on your experiences and assumptions you will have no problem thinking of things to say. I guess it is now important you still maintain a certain level of critical discussion when speaking of YouTube, rather than just talking about everything you saw. Good luck!


  4. I think that the practice of ‘auto-ethnography” was a confusing way of thinking when I first entered this subject. Thoughts such as… What is that big word? Can I even say it? Now once there has been so much information, discussion and posts about it I definitely feel more comfortable and have a better understanding of the concept. Even now I am aware of this technique yet sometimes find myself finding information – forming a new blog post and then being like wait… have I used Autoethnography in this? It’s a confusing process that I think once you understand will be very easy to use. I mean its generally YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, HOW YOU FEEL, and YOUR REACTIONS. It seems so easy I feel like I’m definitely over thinking it that is my main problem. I think that it is key to get the perfect balance between 1) Describing the experience (subject) 2) Describing your personal feelings and reactions towards the subject.


  5. Being so entertained that you forget that you’re watching for uni work, the struggle is real. I definitely can relate considering that my own authoethnographic research is my experience in watching an anime series through character profiles. So… same, same, but different.
    I think another challenge is finding that borderline of talking about personal experiences while still being academic and having sources to go along with your analysis. As you’re doing a digital artefact I’d say that this is something that can be mentioned in your reflection. Not sure if that’s correct but I think that I’ll try and talk about it somehow in my own reflection.
    The fact that YouTube or the YouTube community rather is a new experience for you is kinda great for your autoethnographic research because all your reactions and feelings regarding it would be completely natural.
    Enjoy the rest of falling in to the world of YouTube.


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