Field Journal for Ethnographic Research

By using auto-ethnographic research, I am analysing the impact that lifestyle influencers have on me and the way I live my life. The following is a mixed method approach to research my experience within my media niche. I use secondary research, video notes, written notes and network mapping.

Secondary research


Marshall, P.D., Moore, C. and Barbour, K., 2015. Persona as method: exploring celebrity and the public self through persona studies. Celebrity studies6(3), pp.288-305.

This article looks at the production of the presentation of ones self online. They write about the construction of a public persona, the potential methods to investigate these networks and how to explore its future potential. They also look at the meaning of reputation and how cultural power ties in with this.

The article helped me understand the structural workings to what it means to be a ‘public figure’ and that there is so much more methodology behind it that how it appears as an audience member. I feel that the research within this article would be more applicable for someone managing one of these influencers, rather than the influencer themselves. Although maybe thats me under the assumption that these influencers are effortless and naturally appealing.

Marshall, P.D., 2014. Persona studies: Mapping the proliferation of the public self. Journalism15(2), pp.153-170.

This article questions the relationship between audience and celebrity, identifying that the incline of celebrities results in a decline of culture. He states that society continuously implies that celebrities are of little value yet, simultaneously elevate their significance. This really made sense to me because there are so many moments I catch myself thinking so highly of these three influencers and then I say to myself ‘They’re just people’ or ‘There’s nothing that special about them’, yet I continue to spend hours engaging with their content and obsessing over their lives.

The author also explains that social media puts users into clusters based on what they assume they’re interested in (which I guess could be seen as the algorithm). He then writes that individuals attach their identity to this cluster (what they’re consuming online) and begin to form their personality according to it, which intern creates a false sense of self. I can definitely relate to this in the way that I want to be like these influencers so much that I start to blur the lines of making decisions for myself, or because thats what they do.

Non academic-

Heaney, K., 2017. If Becoming Invested in Strangers’ Lives Is Wrong, I Don’t Want to Be Right. The Cut.

The author of this article began writing about her personal experience of being obsessed with influencers and what they do with their life. Then she chats to professionals in the industry who offer very interesting insight to ‘why?’. They explain that unlike usual celebrities, Instagram influencers are relatable and real. She says that “Even though we may know, on a rational level, that we’re not seeing much of these people’s real lives, on an emotional level, they are generally very good at making us forget that.” “These platforms are more intimate and more personal,” says Parr (one of the people she interviewed). “We can see their bedrooms, they use their phones to take videos and they communicate with their audience every day”

This is something I have never really thought of, but definitely made sense. I’ve never been interested in celebrity culture, I have no idea what’s going on in Hollywood and I know about three actors names because I never felt that I could connect with those people. The three influencers I am study are very relatable to me and my lifestyle in the sense that they’re all from Australia, live on the coast, have similar interests, go to the gym, cook their own meals etc.

Video notes

I decided that in order to get a raw and true understanding of how I am impacted by these influencers, I would record myself for 5 days straight, just after interacting with the content of the three influencers I am studying.

The following is a YouTube video I made where I compiled these video notes:


Network mapping


Trying to understand the network behind these influencers and seeing tham as a brand rather than just another person. This stems back to one of my secondary sources ‘Persona as a method’. This helps me understand that I’m not just randomly influenced by these people, it is actually a very manufactured system, designed and created by a team of people who are payed to figure out how to influence me best.
Taking myself outside of myself and looking at my habits from a birds eye view. I am consuming these people EVERYWHERE. Filling my free time with content about their lives….no wonder I’m impacted.
When I think about my three favourite influencers, I like them all for different reasons. I thought it was interesting to see the different appeals that each of them give me.
How impacted I am definitely depends on my mood and state of mind. After reading some secondary sources, I picked up that most often, the people who are the most impacted are the people who feel the most insecure or feel the need to change.

Written notes



Sarah’s Day:

Put up an immunity shot recipe which I tried at work the next day 

Elsa’s Wholesome Life:

Nothing too interesting, promotional stuff 

Montana Lower:

Cute fam pic promoting latest YouTube video, I went and watched it and loved it. 


Sarah’s Day:

Put up videos of her baby interrupting her workout, was cool to see a woman balancing all aspects of her life whilst staying positive 

Elsa’s Wholesome Life:

Put up a smoothie recipe which inspired me to have a smoothie the next day for breaky 

Montana Lower: 

Cute baby photos talking about how impactful supporting a working mum can be. Made me feel motivated to continue supporting local. 


Sarah’s Day:

Posted about how she’s been on YouTube for 7 years and her progress with her filming schedule and how she’s gotten better and balancing. Made me really inspired to work hard but also look after myself 

Elsa’s Wholesome Life:

Put up a video of her art afternoon which lead me to create a new Pinterest board of DIYs I want to try in the summer break 

Montana Lower:

Talking about how her baby doesn’t own any toys. I really want to do this when I have kids. Put them out in nature as much as possible. Live less materialistic 


Sarah’s Day:

Put up photos of her new house, massive inspo, looks amazing and makes me more inspired to further my passion of interior design 

Elsa’s Wholesome Life:

Baby spam, cute but not relatable for me 

Montana Lower:


Sarah’s Day:

Put up a quote about not just focusing on making money and losing weight which was great because it’s nice to see someone who has a ‘dream body’ talk about how even she is too fixated on her body. Was relatable and inspiring. 

Elsa’s Wholesome Life:

Put up film photos of her and her husband walking their dog on the beach, made me happy and excited for summer

Montana Lower:

Poem about being a mum. Not super relatable but I really respect her vulnerability and true connection to mother hood 


Sarah’s Day:

Put up a photo of her in a nice dress going to white fox to talk about their collab. Not super interested. 

Elsa’s Wholesome Life:

Put up açai bowl recipe, looked so yummy, made me motivated to continue eating healthy 

Montana Lower:

Poem about women. Inspired me to read more of the feminist book I started recently. Made me great full for all the powerful women I have in my life. 


Sarah’s Day:

Promoting her new product of lip balm. Over priced and heavily marketed due to the fact she has such a large following. I’m not interested but it’s also cool to see someone killing it as an online business. 

Elsa’s Wholesome Life:

Cute puppy photos, made me smile. 

Montana Lower:

Promoted her recent YouTube video. I liked the content but the audio was too bad for me to finish it. 


Sarah’s Day:

Smoothie recipe, pretty basic and I didn’t have the expensive protein powder she was promoting so not super interested. 

Elsa’s Wholesome Life:

Promotional stuff, not interested. 

Montana Lower:

Talking about elimination communication with children. Super inspiring. Hadn’t head of it before and is definitely something I will want to do with my children.

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