Author Archives: Soojin Kim

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at Harvard University. My doctoral project focuses on the emerging discourses and practices surrounding the right to be forgotten within South Korea. By examining the social force and lifecycle—from its production to circulation and deletion—of personal data on the internet, my research aims to understand how the process of online data removal intersects with the reconfiguration of gender and personhood. Methodologically, I have delved into digital ethnography, expanding on my previous MA research on the attention economy within live streaming culture and anonymous forums.

Spatial Approaches to Livestreaming: A Methodological Exploration in Digital Ethnography

On AfreecaTV, faceless, wandering viewers appear and disappear in a livestream without notice. Many deceptively change their nickname (username) or use multiple nicknames to divide themselves and appear in different livestreams and other internet forums simultaneously. In crowded livestreams with hundreds to tens of thousands of viewers, it is increasingly challenging to discern the individuality of each viewer’s comments as their presence becomes ephemeral, almost like noise, amidst the rapid speed of chats. Given the near impossibility, or perhaps the meaninglessness, of identifying individuals in these online fields, I may opt to leave the quantified scope (e.g., the size and population) of my research fields undefined and just go with the “flow” (hŭrŭm). This is my reflection on the frustrations that I encountered during the initial phases of my fieldwork within AfreecaTV. Between late 2016 and early 2018, I conducted ‘online’ and ‘offline’ ethnographic fieldwork for my master’s thesis on (read more...)