Netography 10 – Applying Kozinet’s ideas on online developmental progression to my posts on Drumeo

(for a better version of this picture see Kozinets 2010, p.28)

Whilst this diagram is a useful summary it misleads slightly in the way the arrows suggest a linear progression through the different stages of communication as time increases. For my part whilst I found a general tendency for my engagement with Drumeo to follow this structure, there could also be posts where I reverted back to topical information exchange. There could also be posts where there would be a mix of different types of communication.  But then that is the nature of theoretical models, generalisations are inevitable.

So here is how my experience with Drumeo maps onto Kozinet’s model.

Stage 1 – Task oriented information seeking and topical information exchange

Typified by lots of seeking information through a variety of sources, lurking on the periphery* of certain online  communities before being drawn into a particular community.

I had watched numerous youtube drumming education channels and visited several sites over the last few years. I eventually settled on drumeo exclusively and got intrigued enough to want to do my netography project on it.

(* periphery implies that lurkers are not central to or are in a minority in the make up of a community. This is a dangerous assumption to make about online communities and I didn’t want to imply this, however I liked the wording so kept it in)

Stage 2 – Identity information exchange

Posting my responses in established pinned threads such as “where are you from?” “what drum covers are you working now?”

Stage 3 – Cultural norm exchange

I think I’ve managed to avoid stepping on any toes but then I did read a lot of threads about forum etiquette, particularly on giving constructive critiques to people’s playing. In looking through other threads I also saw a lot of posts that were “correcting” people who posted things in the wrong thread category.

Stage 4 – Clarification of power/status

Bit tricky given my short time in the community but it’s pretty easy to spot how this works due to the badge systems on the forum. The members with the highest status were those with:

  • Were employed by Drumeo  (visible on their forum avatar)
  • The  most posts (visible on their forum avatar)
  • The longest running threads in the student progress forum
  • Had their student progress thread pinned to the front page of the student progress forum
  • Got the most responses to their videos,
  •  Displayed the greatest drumming skill in their videos (although not always, there were a few exceptions),
  • Had lots of acronym badges next to their avatar (I could never find an explanation of what any of these meant)

Stage 5 – Cultural Norm Enforcement

This was subtle but when I posted topics that were of interest on the forum or gave detailed feedback to a video the number of appreciative responses increased. This reinforced the cultural norms of the community.

Stage 6 – Relational Exchanges

Gradually more personal information started to slip into my posts, what Kozinet’s identified as convergence. e.g.  when talking about space and texture in playing mentioning that I got married to this particular tune .


I don’t think I advanced much further than this in Kozinet’s model and as I metioned above, I don’t think it’s accurate to describe it as a straight progression.





Netography 5 – A conceptual map of Drumeo as a space of flows

Click here for map

This map takes inspiration from Hines (2000, p.13) suggestion that ethnographic fieldwork could be based around tracing connections rather than focus on a single location.

Like any map, and in fact more so than cartographic maps, this is a personalised, time bound representation with many omissions. The pages themselves can expand as you scroll downwards and the surface content updates regularly. What I’ve tried to show is the blurred boundaries of Drumeo as a self contained website, as a networked site within the wider internet and as physical site “in real life”.

One of the things that it perhaps should reflect is that there are several teachers streaming their lessons onto Drumeo all over North America. There are also far more users than I have indicated.

One could also make a link between Hines connectivist approach and  an excellent lesson on Drumeo by Stanton Moore on musical mileage (click here). In this lesson Stanton explains how you can trace connections between certain drumming patterns and apply them in different cultural contexts. You can take the sticking pattern RRLRRLRL and play it in a New Orleans funk style, Brazilian Maracatu or Cack Handed English Indie Drum and Bass. So rather than focus on a single location as a drummer you situate your work in the space of flows.

Understanding Culture Online – NOTES

Understanding culture online


Initial views of CMC was that it was brief, unemotional but egalitarian. Studies have since reveal diverse and authentic online communities that demand a participant – observer approach.


  1. 2 ‘Technologies are not repressively foisted upon passive populations, any more than

the power to realize their repressive potential is in the hands of a conspiring few. They are developed at any one time and place in accord with a complex set of existing rules or rational procedures, institutional histories, technical possibilities, and, at last, but not least, popular desires’. (Penley and Ross 1991, p. xiv)


Tech and society intertwine. Don’t be deterministic or essentialist.

What can influence our tech use – specific times and places, distinctive

rules or rational procedures, institutional histories, technical possibilities,

practical and popular uses, fears and dreams

thus we need ethnography.



Theoretical Basis – social psychology

Research Method – psychological tests

Conclusion 1 – online is bad for cultural and social activity

Reason – No social cues from real life.

Conclusion 2 – Social status hierarchies will be flattened

Reason – No social cues frees people up. Less dominance and social barriers. People become uninhibited.


Then we start to see emoticons develop, ASCII art, net-slang. Gets round the assumed “coldness” of CMC.


Walther – p.4 online if people don’t expect to be interacting in the future they just talk about the task in hand. If you are going to talk again it becomes more friendly.

Olanrian – p.4 when groups have diverse members you need to focus on similarities rather than differences. DUH!



Destroys the flat social hierarchy position. People always develop symbols to mark out the pwnrs and the noobs.

Shows why you need to go in the field not just in labs. Look at actual developed groups not just one offs for lab work.



Survey – population, demographic, frequency

Psychological Experiments – links between individual and group variables, e.g. memory

Ethnography – cultural practice


NETHNOGRAPHY – shows online groups follow same rules as IRL groups. Norm developments and identity. However anonymity and accessibility change some group interactions.


Info seek from official info – user gen content – lurk – gradually post – learn the norms and language – become an old hand

From task oriented to social.

Gradually in sharing info personal elements seep in, inevitably a community forms.


COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE – ‘a community’s structures are instantiated and recreated in habitual and recurrent ways of acting or practices’ (Baym 1999, p. 22).


Ways of creating group identity – evaluation, commiseration, criticism.



Things you can study in NETHNOGRAPHY –


Meaning and symbols – netspeak, slang, communal language


Typology and Classification – types of users, interactions, groups


How IRL practice and identity relates to online groups


Relationship between commercial and community – ‘all commercial portals purporting to serve politically marginalized groups beg the question of whether there can be a harmonious

balance between the interests of community and the drives of commerce’ (see also



How does the institutionalisation of online communities change local community practice? Does drumeo change things for local drummers? Or other bloggers?



consumption (what the group is “about”), the more you self-identify with the group’s consumptive purpose the more you are likely to get involved. Interest + expertise.


Social relation. How you see others in the group. Friends? Interesting strangers?


Going Live!

I can also totally see why facebook are advertising this feature. Livestreaming is not yet normalised on an individual level within society. Football matches, press conferences, gigs, etc, sure but not most people’s everyday lives. If they can make their platform ubiquitous for livestreaming it’ll be another huge slice of personal data they can capture about their audience, as well as further embedding their service within people’s daily lives. More data, more accurately targeted adverts, more revenue for facebook. So yes, other features can just be rolled out without fanfare but this is getting pushed hard.

These adverts are dotted around bus stops in Edinburgh. Every time I see one I think of two sci fi novels. Thinking about it, it makes sense to look at films and music and how they influenced cyberculture at the start of the course. Certainly my own reactions to new technology are informed by my previous engagement with pop culture sci-fi. Anyway, here are the two novels I am reminded of:

1.) Supersadtruelovestory by Gary Shyteyngart – In it there are several side characters who spend their entire time livestreaming, even to the extent that the protagonist cannot meet them in a bar without them streaming their entire conversation.

“One of Lenny’s best friends dates a woman “who spends about seven hours a day streaming about her weight” (her show’s signature line is “Hey, girlfriend, gots muffintop?”) Another friend streams critiques of U.S. foreign policy “intermixed with his own hardcore gay sex.”

I’ve read this book several times and think it’s great. I’ve not met anyone else who has read it or persuaded anyone I know to read it so I’ve never had a chance to talk about it with anyone.

2.) Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

“How to go LIVE when you and your droogs are kicking some grazzy chelloveck to death! It’s real horrowshow!”

I wonder what algorithms facebook has in place for censoring and policing livestreams. Will it really just allow anything to go live and then claim that they are the platform for the content rather than the producers, so therefore not responsible?

Just went and read this

Apparently facebook took down a video depicting police brutality just as it was going viral. Similar issues to the furor over whether twitter gamed occupy wall street to stop it from trending. The opaqueness of algorithms and how their black boxing make people suspect censorship.

So in short, yes, facebook are still arguing they are the platform not producers. And it will put moral responsibility on individuals to not look at videos that potentially disturbing or controversial. This get-out clause certainly hasn’t stopped the use of beheading videos as an effective terrorist weapon. Once seen they can’t be unseen. A simple warning that the video contains graphic content is not the same as asking people to consider the complex cost and benefits of using a visual format to inform themselves about issues.