"Apparently Being a Self-Obsessed C**t Is Now Academically Lauded": Experiencing Twitter Trolling of Autoethnographers

Elaine Campbell


Online hostility and mockery, often known as "trolling," is a phenomenon almost as old as the internet itself. Nevertheless, the rise in trolling aimed at researchers using non-traditional, creative methodologies, such as autoethnography, remains severely under-explored. This essay seeks to fill the gap in the literature and make a contribution to the discourse on autoethnographic research. Writing autoethnographically, I share my experience of discovering vile, misogynist, and cruel trolling of autoethnographers and their work on the social media platform Twitter. I reflect on the online hatred I received when I raised the issue publically. Many of the messages I received focused on my perceived inability to cope with opinions other than my own. Therefore, I finish by offering a brief response to critiques of autoethnography; albeit criticism that comes from researchers who raise their concerns in a constructive and scholarly manner. Above all, the purpose of this essay is to bring trolling of autoethnographers to the fore and encourage others to speak about their experiences. If we do not write about trolling, then it—and our story—remains hidden.


autoethnography; trolling; social media

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-18.3.2819

Copyright (c) 2017 Elaine Campbell

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