My timing was perfect. Emerging from university I walked into a professional world where Web 2.0 was ushering in a new way to relate and connect with people. It was a new era for qualitative researchers, like myself, to study community in context from anywhere in the world.

It’s easy to forget those early years of the Web 2.0 but when Kelly ann Mckercher’s tweet appeared in my feed - 🤯 - Transported immediately back to my grubby Apple Mac Core 2 Duo (don’t pretend yours wasn’t collecting smudges and scrapes) running an online community in which we gathered stories about the mobile telephony revolution unfolding in South Africa. 13 years have passed since and gathering stories remains my guilty pleasure. Placing people in context, hearing in their own words how they describe and make sense of their needs and behaviours remains an ever present part of design.

🤜🏽 Thanks Kelly ann for the prompt to record a list of useful and scalable ways to gather stories(*). Listed in no specific order:

  • Blogging network on Wordpress/ Private Platform
  • Whatsapp/ Telegram. Useful for collective sense-making techniques and collecting video and voice. Nearly ubiquitous in Africa.
  • Whatsapp Business Account. Useful for private capture and private sense-making
  • Miro board with open access to capture, theme and make sense of incoming stories
  • Slack/ Teams channel to support community led initiatives and 1:1 conversations
  • Instagram account, shared access, private and useful for visual stories
  • eMail (yes, you heard me) - go where the people go

As and when I remember ways we’ve gathered stories in diary studies I’ll post them here.

Update Log:
  • First compilation of methods, Mon 19 April 19:57

(*)This is not a list of the most accessible diary methods. The focus is on scalable and digital diary methods. The digital divide is a reality in the African context and it is exacerbated by low rates of literacy in many communities.