On following and becoming a follower

A phenomenological analysis





phenomenology, methodology, social media, algorithms, event memory


This paper uses phenomenological analysis to consider the phenomenon of becoming a follower. The data includes my field notes from mediated encounters with three of the most-subscribed YouTube content creators, as well as my personal recollections about these experiences, which are interspersed as event memories throughout my notes. Analyzing my event memories of these encounters enables me to follow my affective relationship to these YouTubers and their content, to untangle some of these knobby multiplicities and map the possibilities of following as they emerge. As I follow following around, as a researcher and (perhaps) as a follower myself, I reflect on the role of algorithms shaping who, what, and how we follow online media. Lastly, the methodological ramifications of a researcher becoming a follower–how following and researching bleed into each other, and why this matters–are also explored in this paper.


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How to Cite

Brewster, M. (2023). On following and becoming a follower: A phenomenological analysis . Reconceptualizing Educational Research Methodology, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.7577/rerm.4871

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