Netnography explained by its founder, Robert Kozinets

International social media, marketing research and branding expert, as well as founder of netnography, a method of analysis of behaviour on the internet: Robert Kozinets explains what it is about, what are its peculiarities and its applications

Netnography, the method of qualitative research founded by Robert Kozinets, has found new areas of application with Web 2.0. Listening to online conversations it is possible to study in a participated and immersive way the users’ consumption and habits.

What is netnography and what is its purpose?

Netnography is a way to do anthropology on the internet, using the publicly available information that people freely share through social media. Compared to traditional ethnography, netnography  tries to bring a human element back into a very delocalised and disembodied experience. To do that, it uses a great amount of data, not only from the internet and not only based on observation. Indeed, this method uses both a quantitative and qualitative approach, and the proportion is either at the discretion of the researcher and determined by the purpose of the research.

Marketing uses netnography a lot. Can this method be also applied to study the relations between Institutions and citizens?

The interest for netnography has been growing. So far, this method of analysis is being used in healthcare, education, sociology, human geography. It can be very useful also in the interaction between citizens and Institutions, when people don't want to talk about something directly and make assessments. Netnography allows to obtain the answers needed by listening conversations taking place on the web, analysing the users’ behaviours and opinions. For instance, a very rich source of data for Public Administration comes from monitoring online newspapers, from the analysis of users’ discussions and comments. In a few words: it is an extensive and partly unexplored application area, definitely to be developed.



ICS Editorial

Design is a thought activity: we should not replace it with a mere “optimizing” approach, because it’s from imperfections that talent emerges.


Some photos may be taken from the web and be considered public domain; photos' owners who oppose to the publication can write to contact@pomilio.com