Accepted paper:

Mobility as place? The use of virtual networks and social media within constant movement


Anna Lisa Ramella (University of Cologne)

Paper short abstract:

This paper reflects on the use of social media of a touring band. While digital networks and social media provide an infrastructure to connect with ‚home‘, they are also used to engage with the audience. The paper explores this doubling of space and the notion of a mobile place.

Paper long abstract:

In early summer of 2013, I conducted fieldwork with a traveling band during their Europe and US tour for my PhD in Anthropology. My research focus is on the perception of place in a constantly mobile environment and the social factors that this lifestyle includes. In this paper, I will draw from the observations about the use of social media and virtual networks to connect with contacts "back home", but also those spread out through the infrastructures established by 8-year-long touring. While the subjects I traveled with are drawn together by a close though temporary community of band and crew members, new media devices like smartphones, internet access and virtual networks keep them constantly connected to the actors that are not physically with them. At the same time, as the band advances performing music in different states and continents, social media are used to promote their concerts and to get in touch with the audience. Private and public information does not only get shared through the same medium, but is also not clearly separated within; photographs posted on the band page get commented by private contacts, fans get added to the private facebook account, to name few examples. As the tour ends and both band and crew go home for a while, virtual networks are suddenly much less frequented. In this paper I would like to explore the facets of this mobile lifestyle connected to social media and the making of place in a mobile environment.

panel P60
Between the mediation of diversity and the diversity of mediations: considerations on contemporary world circulations, belongings and contours