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Getting up close and personal with influencers: reflecting on the intimacy of netnography

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Publication date30/12/2020
Host publicationNetnography Unlimited: Understanding Technoculture using Qualitative Social Media Research
EditorsRobert Kozinets, Gambetti Rossella
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9780367425654
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In a relatively short timeframe, netnography has profoundly reshaped the way scholars across many fields conduct online research. In this chapter, we posit that the relationships cultivated between netnographer(s) and their cultural informants – especially those cultivated with content creators or influencers – are especially intimate. We probe the peculiar nature of this intimacy by describing its unique conditions, dwelling in particular on the casual and playful manner of communication and the high levels of disclosure that characterise our condition of intimacy. Subsequently, we discuss the ramifications of how mediated intimacies affect the netnographic encounter. We also reflect on some of the particular challenges that doing netnographic research with content creators poses, such as the threat of data evaporation and the problem of how to recruit content creators to a study. Finally, by contemplating the future research terrain, we suggest ways that netnographers keen to expand our understanding of content creators can make strong and original contributions to the field.