Meg Pickard: Social anthropology online

If we are going to properly understand an online community, it might be an idea to learn about the theory behind communities: online and offline. We learn a surprising amount from social anthropology: the study human culture and society

“Social anthropology is at its essence about understanding people and patterns of people, patterns of behaviour and cultures and communities”, says Meg Pickard, the Guardian‘s Head of Digital Engagement. She should know, having studied the subject for many years before moving into the media!

3 key questions to ask are:

  • What are people doing?
  • Why are they doing it (i.e. Why is it important to them?)
  • What does it mean for them and the kind of relationships they have?

Meg says social anthropology is “incredibly relevant” to the digital area. She argues that the internet is an extension of our understanding of community, socialisation and forming relationships.


About Joseph Pike
Joseph Pike was born in Vancouver, Canada and raised in Oxford, England. After reading politics at the University of Edinburgh, he now lives, works and studies in London. Joe writes about politics and theatre: as the Broadcast Interviewer of Britain’s leading theatre website – – and as a contributor to a range of print and online publications. He has written for The Observer, Total Politics, Fest, broadcast on the BBC, and carried out political research at the UN Development Programme Regional Centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka. While living in Edinburgh, Joe was Scotland Editor of and National Politics Editor of The Journal, the city’s student newspaper. In 2008 and 2009, Joe was the Press Manager of Musical Theatre @ George Square, an award-winning venue at Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe. In this role, he worked with 62 theatrical productions and many of the UK’s leading arts PR agencies achieving extensive coverage in local, national and international media.

2 Responses to Meg Pickard: Social anthropology online

  1. Pingback: Meg Pickard » Blog Archive » Interview about community development and management in a journalism/news context

  2. Pingback: Online Community Management Links Roundup 18/03/11 - Community Management | Blaise Grimes-Viort

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: