Master thesis: WhatsApp as a space

A virtual ethnography of user practices in Sierra Leone


In this research, human-technology-world relationships were re-examined by looking at the interplay between micro and macro processes in a postcolonial context. To do so, there was a close examination of WhatsApp, a specific type of technology that creates spaces for user interaction in virtual spaces. By engaging in a virtual ethnographic study of user practices in virtual spaces, there is a greater understanding of how mobile technologies mediate the experience of reality in a postcolonial context. The empirical data suggest that WhatsApp in Sierra Leone becomes a dominant information platform in which information necessary for users to navigate their lives are existing as potentialities to be actualised through user engagement. Furthermore, the WhatsApp Space (capitalised) consists of multiple sub-spaces, that in turn are created by, and affected by user practices and relational networks that define the qualities of these spaces.


Keywords: postphenomenology, virtuality, WhatsApp, postcolonial context