True Crime and Social Media
After discussing my niche of true crime online, it was time to narrow this down further and really grasp what I wanted to get out of this project at an ethnographical standpoint. Defining my general media niche was easy. I enjoy true crime podcasts and want to investigate this further. The next step is the creation of a specialisation and thus, a field site for my investigation process.
True crime has always existed. However, due to the increase of platforms such as Youtube, TikTok and Instagram, we as users are more tuned in to it that ever. We are now provided with a whole media niche related to the discussion and investigation surrounding true crime topics. Whilst discussion around this can span from a TikTok on a disappearance to a Youtuber discussing a murder case, the most popular form of this seems to be podcast formation due to the ease and price effective way of spreading information globally. The carefully composed set of information is particularly found in Hedley Thomas’ true crime podcast, ‘The Teacher’s Pet‘, as discussed in last week’s podcast.
According to Jenna Burrell in ‘The Field Site as a Network: A Strategy for Locating Ethnographic Research’ the term field site refers to the “spatial characteristics of a field-based research project, the stage on which the social processes under study take place”. Basically, in simpler terms, A field site is not a physical or virtual space, it is a term for the lived experience of a network of relations.
When working to narrow down my media niche, the network of connections and relations seemed clear. The relaying of true fact to an audience on a platform such as ‘The Teacher’s Pet’ creates an online connection amongst its audience. In order to further reinforce this field site notion within true crime podcasts Baruah’s states “Internet is the place where people connect with friends, build a sense of togetherness and a computer with an Internet connection is the locus of a range of interactions in a variety of media and a gateway to an array of social spaces for work and play”. The digital aspect of podcasts top relay true crime means that anyone around the globe can connect and this may open up the discussion of whether true crime on social media influences the way people act, think and feel about what has occurred. These podcasts open up discussion surrounding crimes and influence everyday people as well as authorities within cases.
As someone who is deeply interested in criminology and how it interacts on social media, I believe how true crime is displayed online is an incredibly valuable topic to pursue as there are so many ways it could be perceived. I wish to narrow this down further. I have consequently found several topics worth pursuing, including whether true crime discussions at any level besides being an authority figure is helpful or destructive. This could further be shown in the ‘Teacher’s Pet’ podcast, Hedley Thomas’s research and findings leading to more sexual assault communication and the possible arrest of perpetrator Chris Dawson. There is also valuable discussion around social media crime fan bases and what this means in terms of in-depth discussion about triggering crimes to susceptible youths.