For my BCM241 Digital Artefact, my media niche is travel vloggers Eamon and Bec. I chose Eamon and Bec because I have a passion for travel and am intrigued by their van living.
Through an ethnographic lens, my goal is to understand why and how I consume their content. Eamon and Eamon and Bec’s largest field site is their social media, so I plan to spend time observing and immersing myself in their YouTube and Instagram.
Research to back my investigations includes understanding the uses and gratifications of watching Eamon and Bec. Uses and gratifications looks at why we choose the media we do and the motives for those choices. Thus, it is important to understand my motives for watching Eamon and Bec and what needs it gratifies.
Further research includes the impact of travel content on social media. As this project is being conducted during COVID19, I will investigate how travel vloggers can be resembled as virtual tour guides and how this could attract a larger audience than ever before. Research to back this include ‘Screen Gems: How to Weave Video Into Your Travel Content Strategy’ by Stephanie Vermillion and Travel Vloggers as a Source Of Information About Tourist Destinations by Johan Birch Jensen.
I am keen to combine this secondary research and primary research together to thoroughly understand my role as a consumer of Eamon and Bec’s content. Furthermore, I hope to be a resource for travel vloggers who may need guidance or insight as to how best to reach their target audience.
It is time to look at the secondary research and ethical responsibilities which come with my ethnographic research journey on Eamon and Bec. My aim is to effectively understand the processes, maps, algorithms and reasons as to why Eamon and Bec produce content and why people consume their content. As mentioned in previous posts, primary research through observation and autoethnography is a crucial aspect of this. However, secondary research is also important to guide my results and to draw upon reliable previous findings. This may be in the form of academic articles, previous studies in the field or news articles.
I intend to research two key aspects in inform my own research; audience behaviour and social media algorithms and processes. To kickstart this project, I looked up some articles which will be useful in my research.
Uses and Gratifications of YouTube: A Comparative Analysis of Users and Content Creators by Diana-Maria Buf & Oana Stefanita
This article analyses the uses of YouTube and rewards obtained by its consumers and content. The two key components to analyse this included to 1) identify the main uses and gratifications that determine consumers and content creators to use YouTube, and 2) to examine the reasons why people want to become content creators. The term ‘uses and gratifications’ is commonly used in the media realm, as it looks at why we choose the media we do and our motives for those choices. It deems media audiences as engaged and active. Through qualitative research, this article investigates how consumer and content creators needs are gratified through YouTube. It identified that that consumers mostly watch YouTube for information and/or relaxation, and for content creators it’s a means for recognition and social validation. This information is relevant to my research and I am keen to further draw upon it during this project.
Audience : Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers- by Jeffrey K. Rohrs and Morgan Stewart.
This article looks deeply into social media subscriber, fan and follower behaviours. Rohrs & Stewart suggest that to keep consumers coming back to their content, creators must give their fans something in return. This is two-way relationship can be applied to Eamon and Bec; they create videos for their fans, and as a result, fans keep coming back. This article also interestingly separates subscribers, fans and followers into different categories with different meanings. Note Eamon and Bec have all three. The article explains subscribers are ‘consumers who provided something of value in order to receive exclusive information from them’. Thus, by subscribing to a YouTube channel. You expect exclusive information delivered to you in a convenient fashion because you have signed up for it. Fans, on the other hand, are more emotionally invested. Fans want to express their passion for what they are invested in and are often involved in communities with like-minded people. Unlike fans, followers don’t particularly have to have a passionate relationship with the content, but instead still seek and are somewhat interested in their information.
“I maintain that couch surfing and crowdsurfing are basically the same thing. You’re falling into the audience and you’re trusting each other”– Amanda Palmer, page 41.
I plan to also find research on the algorithms of YouTube and Instagram to not understand why people consume Eamon and Bec’s content, but how.
There are ethical issues which must be considered in my primary research. As I am observing people’s behaviours without their knowledge, I must represent all parties fairly and anonymously. To overcome this, although challenging, I will need explain and paraphrase what they have said instead of quoting them. I must also ensure I represent Eamon and Bec in a fair matter. To avoid representing them unfairly, I must stick to the straight facts and avoid exaggeration.
It is also important that I am an active listener in this project. To prevent biased information, I must be open and represent all different voices, even if they contradict. I also intend to be an adaptive listener and consider the different backgrounds people may come from to better understand their perspectives. This means I have to document my experience as my own and not talk on behalf of other people’s experiences, as everyone has different backgrounds and reasons for consuming their content. I can draw upon scientific research which may give suggestions explaining consumer behaviours but cannot apply it on behalf of all Eamon and Bec’s consumers.
Now the planning process is coming to an end, I am excited to dive into observing and participating in Eamon and Bec’s ethnographic social media realm.
Buf, D. & Stefanita, O 2020, ‘Uses and Gratifications of YouTube: A Comparative Analysis of Users and Content Creators’, Romanian Journal of Communication and Public Relations, vol. 22, no. 2, pp 75-89.
Rohrs, J. & Stewart, M 2013, ‘Audience : Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers’, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, first edition.
Understanding YouTuber vloggers Eamon and Bec through an ethnographic lens is complicated and interesting all at the same time. I plan to unpack this media niche through the methods of observation and autoethnography. Observation can be defined as“the most pervasive and fundamental practice of all modern sciences, both natural and human. It is also among the most refined and variegated. Observation educates the senses, calibrates judgment, picks out objects of scientific inquiry, and forges thought collectives” (Flick, 2014). As for autoethnography, “autoethnography is an emerging qualitative research method that allows the author to write in a highly personalized style, drawing on his or her experience to extend understanding about a societal phenomenon” (Wall, 2006).
The first step to analyse the ethnography of Eamon and Bec is to problematise. The question my research will be based on is ‘why do people consume Eamon and Bec’s content?’. This will include me investigating:
Who are the human and non-human actors involved in the process?
How do they find their experience of finding and consuming the content?
I plan to use the method of observation and autoethnography by documenting the following:
What comes up on my home feed by following them?
Where does their comment box take me?
Do they communicate with their fans?
Why do I consume their content?
What is my experience finding and consuming their content?
How do I feel when I watch them?
Each week, I plan to observe and participate in Eamon and Bec’s YouTube, Instagram and Tik Tok community to experience and observe the processes and links attached to their content. Although my main focus is YouTube, by keeping an eye on their fanbase across all social media platforms I will get a better understanding of how and why people watch their content, their experience, and the non-human and human actors involved. I will record my findings through taking notes, screenshots and tracking my processes. Usually in a situation like this, a survey might be carried out to hear other peoples experiences. However, due to the ethical framework we are working in, a survey will not be possible for this task.
I plan to do further research to justify and understand my findings and experiences. Finally, I will analyse and condense research and data I have conducted to make a specific media niche through an ethnographic lens.
Below is my research schedule. It is important to note this may change depending where the research takes me- it may open new doors to investigate. I intend to document each process.
Observe what appears in my feed by following them on YouTube and Instagram community, and their fan interaction. Prepare for pitch.
Document why I consume their content. Present pitch.
Observe and document where their comment box leads me
Record the process of how I access their content and the process while consuming it
Document how I feel when I watch them.
Further research and analyse information. Link.
Further research and analyse information. Link.
Finalise and submit.
The final result may be presented to future employees to demonstrate my skills in deeply understanding behaviour patterns and experiences of content consumers.
A travel vloggers field site can be stretched far and wide. Anyone can access their content from any part of the world, at any time. For this blog, I will be focusing on travel YouTuber’s Eamon and Bec.
Eamon and Bec’s ethnographic field site can be divided into four categories; geographical, technical, social and content. These individual factors work harmoniously together to create their ethnographic map.
Before we dive in, it is important to consider the perspective I bring to this study. As a long-time consumer of travel vlogs, particularly Eamon and Bec’s content, I am approaching this from an insider’s perspective and am bringing personal experiences and observations to the table.
Although Eamon and Bec live in Canada, their geographical map is indeed worldwide. Their geographic presence is prominently in the Western part of the world. This may be due to Westerners having greater access to electronic devices and the internet. In saying this, due to their online platforms being public, it is possible for anyone to access their content. Not only is their geographical map online, but it is also largely present in the real-life world. Eamon and Bec are constantly travelling which grants them the opportunity to meet new people everywhere they go. This creates a larger audience for their real and online personas.
The technical field site investigates how Eamon and Bec’s audience finds their content. People might find their content through a brand they have collaborated with, through another influencers page, a friend’s recommendation or through a home page. If someone finds their content through any of these means, it’s likely they have an interest in travel or the content they produce and therefore are more likely to watch them. Their real-life persona’s they present online makes the experience of watching their content personal as you feel like you’re on a journey with them. This may be a key reason as to why audiences join their community.
Eamon and Bec have many different social field sites. They are involved with various communities; such as the van community, influencer community and their fan community. Their social media is their largest social field site, as they are present on various platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Tik Tok. Social media is a way for Eamon and Bec connect and inform their audience, while also reaching out to potential and unreached audiences. They can do this through comments, follows and shares.
The final aspect of Eamon and Bec’s ethnographic field site is their content. Their main content includes regular YouTube videos and Instagram photos. Additionally, they own an online store which sells chai, presets and cookbooks. This draws in new audiences who may not necessarily be involved with their social media content.
I plan to base my overall ethnographic research on travel vloggers, while using Eamon and Bec as my main example. Skills I will develop by ethnographically exploring travel vloggers include researching audience patterns and behaviours. I am keen to explore if and how travel vloggers contribute to culture, how they create a community and why audiences are interested in their content. Investigating Eamon and Bec’s ethnography in a larger context will help me understand the overall travel vlog audience behaviour patterns.
My research in this area might be of interest to content creators to understand their impact on culture and behaviours. It may also be relevant to content consumers to understand the impact the travel vlogger may have on them, and to understand what they contribute to by watching their content.
Attached are scholarly links I plan to use to back my research:
Ever since I was a young teenager, one of my favourite pastimes has been watching travel vlogs on YouTube. A travel vlog is where someone films themselves while travelling and the viewer gets to second-hand experience their experiences. As someone who has not yet done much travel, I love these vlogs as they allow me to transport somewhere else. My favourite travel Vloggers are Eamon and Bec who travel the world in a van. They will be my key example in this blog.
Eamon and Bec’s travel vlogs have sparked responses from viewers which has created a community. But how?
First of all, Eamon and Bec receive a large response from their audience in the form of written, verbal and insight-driven responses. The written responses are the comments they receive on their videos, where viewers get to express their response to the video. Verbal response is by word-of-mouth. It’s when people talk to their friends about the videos. Verbal responses have the power to either expand their fanbase or destroy their reputation. Written and verbal responses are qualitative factors and can be helpful to get an understanding of what people think of the video, what content they do and don’t like, and how to keep fans happy. On the other hand, a response measured by insights is quantitative research. It explores how many views, likes and subscribers they have. However, it disregards many factors, such as; will they come back to watch? How did they find the content? Why did they watch?
This community Eamon and Bec have created on YouTube has dribbled down to other social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. This broadens their exposure and fanbase, as their content be discovered via more platforms.
Eamon and Bec have very prominent personas- as can be seen through their social media. Us viewers invest in them and know all about their lives, however, they only invest in a mass audience. Yet, they somehow manage to make viewers feel like we’re friends on a personal level.
Personally, as young person, I watch Eamon and Bec mostly for entertainment, but also because I have a passion for travel. I’m interested in researching who Eamon and Bec’s target market is. Why do people watch their content? How do they find the content? What is their experience? Who is the target market- young people? Families? Even older people?
Eamon and Bec accomplished creating such a supportive community that their travels are now supported by viewers merely supporting and watching their videos. They feel loyal to us, so they keep creating content. We feel loyal to them, so we continue watching their videos.