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Facebook hit Norway like a meteorite while I was in Paris (where, by the way, Myspace was the big thing). With 404 508 members, this tiny country with only 4,5 million inhabitants constitute one of the larges regional networks on Facebook (Norway). I still haven’t really discovered what’s so great about Facebook yet (by contrast I got hooked on Flickr immediately and can still spend so many hours immobile in front of the photo sharing utility that my eyes get sore from forgetting to blink and my shoulders stiffen.) Anyway, in my slow and trying attempts to catch up on what everybody here were doing in the spring – while I was watching other people tending other sheep in other valleys (e.g. surfing on Myspace) – I stumbled upon the Norwegian anthropologists’ Facebook association (Norske antropologers fjesbokforening). And what do I find, after a short presentation of the association and a handful of links to informative sites (where of course the incredible antropologi.info by Lorenz is on top)? Yes, a link proclaiming in capital letters: PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION ON YOUTUBE. It’s me, with a poem by the Norwegian author Jens Bjørneboe, first in French translation, then a little more comfortably in the original Norwegian version. My mate Lorent who sat next to me, suggested taking over the camcorder when the maître de cérémonie Dgiz introduced me (to my surprise), so he filmed the whole séance.
It’s incredible strange to watch this video now, in my own living room, so removed from Bellevillian fieldwork as I can be. I’ve just come back from the Cinemateket (Scarface, 1933 – the remake, with Al Pacino, is said to be a cult movie for the kids in the deprived Parisian suburbs). It’s a quiet Friday evening. Outside, it’s almost frosty, but the streets were full of people on their way to a party or a “vorspiel” when I cycled through town, like always in the weekends. So, in the middle of this, my typical Oslo life, I get reminded of my own participation in a poetry slam in haut Belleville five-six months ago. It’s funny to see my nervousness, hear the applause, see how I first forget to get the ticket (for a free drink) like so many slammers often do, then how Dgiz smiles after he has given it to me, then, finally, my big smile of relief towards Lorent after sitting down again. It’s funny to be back at L’Atelier du Plateau and this soirée, and it’s incredibly funny – yes, eerie – to have found the link on that Facebook site, inscribed in the heart of this internet community of young Norwegian anthropologists, as an example of participant observation.
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