Is a Tweet a Fieldnote? Reflections on #ESIFRice

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution


During June 2015, the Ethnography Studio, based at Rice University in Houston, ran a week long ‘field’ experiment. Their question was this: “What can Twitter do to/for the field?”. Anthropologists and graduate students linked their fieldsites via Twitter, under the hashtag #ESIFRice, in an effort to open conversations about how our fields of enquiry are conceptualised, thinking together about what kinds of new questions the experiment could raise. Provoked by my own participation, in this brief reflection piece, I pursue four lines of argument. The first links the time of the field to the time of twitter, and explores the spatial and temporal implications. The second is concerned with the form and content of the tweet, and asks whether tweeting from the field might constitute a form of telegraphic pre-emption for ethnographic analysis. The third attends to different ways that field-tweets can reinforce, or destabilise the predominantly ‘site’ imaginary of ethnography. Finally, I consider the potential implications of field tweeting, from new holisms to archiving, and computational remix.
Period13 Jul 201715 Jul 2017
Event titleCOLLEEX Ethnographic Experimentation. Fieldwork Devices and Companions
Event typeWorkshop
LocationLisbon, PortugalShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • ethnography
  • method
  • experiment
  • twitter
  • fieldnotes