Virtual_anthropology
The latest issue of trendwatching.com talks about virtual anthropology.

“As consumers around the world pro-actively post, stream if not lead parts of their lives online, you (or your trend team) can now vicariously ‘live’ amongst them, at home, at work, out on the streets. From reading minute-by-minute online diaries or watching live webcam feeds, to diving into tens of millions of tagged pictures uploaded by Flickr-fueled members of Generation C in Mexico, Mauritius, Malaysia and dozens of other countries.”

And Steve Portigal reacts:

“As usual, when you read about a shortcut to actual research written by someone who really has no clue about doing real research, they omit the valuable part – asking questions. Asking why! What is the meaning of the clothing you wear? Tell me a story about why you’ve got those items in your fridge?

It takes skill to unearth the insights – you can’t start and finish with self-reported data. Otherwise, you’re just a step above a mood board or something artifact-based. Insights come from people – from interacting with people, dynamically. Not simply observing their shit.”