Hellbent for social media

methodological approaches to conducting social research in online spaces

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution


An increasing shift in more recent times to online social spaces by heavy metal music communities has presented new challenges and opportunities for social researchers. This paper will draw on the methodological approach used during my doctoral research into the ways in which individual and group gender performances are affected by the increasing use of social media by fans. In designing my research project on individual and group performances of gender in heavy metal fan groups it quickly became apparent that social media presents new methodological as well as epistemological questions for the social researcher. I will use this opportunity to propose an adaptation of existing methodological approaches to online ethnographic research aimed at understanding the ways in which the extension of heavy metal fan spaces to encompass new online social spaces affects individual and group performances of gender. This adaptation will specifically address the need to abandon the idea of separate 'real' and 'virtual' spaces when striving to understand the experience of social media use. Further to this, I will highlight that the influence of social media technology on social relationships and the stories of the individuals who inhabit these spaces require an epistemological approach such as that offered by post-colonial and feminist literature that necessitates a consideration of relations of inequality and privilege especially with regard to situated knowledges.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKeep it simple, make it fast! Crossing borders of underground music scenes
Subtitle of host publicationbook of abstracts
Place of PublicationPorto, Portugal
PublisherUniversidade do Porto
Number of pages1
ISBN (Print)9789898648518
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventKeep it Simple, Make it Fast! : Crossing Borders of Underground Music Scenes and DIY Cultures - Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Letras, Porto, Portugal
Duration: 13 Jul 201517 Jul 2015
Conference number: 2


ConferenceKeep it Simple, Make it Fast!
Abbreviated titleKISMIF


  • methodology
  • social media
  • gender

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