I set this blog up just over four years ago in January 2012 both to record my online ethnographic PhD research and with the hope of having conversations that would help inform my thinking and enable me to share my learning along the way.
After four years of working full time, compressing five days into four and doing research on the extra day I’d squeezed out of the week, I finally had my viva on Friday. I passed the assessors’ grilling with four minor corrections and am basking in a profound sense of relief and delight in equal measure.
My research was about online social networks and mental health with a heavy focus on the now departed The World of Mentalists blog and ecosystem around it. I have many people to be grateful to for in helping me think about this topic over the last four years. In particular I’d like to thank all my interviewees for sharing their time and expertise (you know who you are) and to everyone who welcomed me into the madosphere. I’d also like to thank Phil, Mark, Sue, James and Kat for many a Skype, phone call, meet up and often conference podium where we shared our thinking about mental health and online social networks with various audiences.
During those four years my interests have developed beyond online social networks to digital technologies in health, with a particular focus on co-design and ethics. I’ve clocked up 133 posts on this blog and recently changed its title to reflect those broader interests. A few years ago I set up mHabitat which comprises an ever growing team and which has been very much informed by my research.
What I will take away from my PhD is the joy of learning, the joy of writing and the generosity of so many people participating in a space and set of practices that at one time had the moniker of the madosphere. Thank you 🙂
Now to those pesky corrections…