My area of research interest is primarily focused on children and how they interact with peers as well as with companies that are trying to market to them online in social media communities (e.g, Facebook). The readings this week, especially the reading by Boellstorff, T. et al. (2012), reinforced my interest in ethnography as a relevant and useful tool in order to study the interactions of children in social media spaces. However, the definition of virtual worlds as defined by Boellstorff, T. et al. (2012), excludes those spaces such as Facebook that don’t reflect “worldness and embodiment.” This exclusion makes sense when dealing with older subjects, but I wonder if children, who have always had Facebook and other social media as part of their daily lives, may view the lines between the physical and virtual worlds in different ways. I would like to study this more and explore any research that has been done on children and their definitions of virtual worlds.
Another area to further explore to support my area of research interest is around how to conduct field research with fragile or impressionable populations such as children. Identifying the most appropriate type and degree of participation when conducting field research, as described in the Lindlof and Taylor (2011) text, with children will be an especially interesting challenge that I look forward to exploring further.