Over the past decade social scientists, including geographers, have begun to collect data via the internet (Batinic, Reips and Bosnjak 2002; Hanna 2012; Jones 1999; Kinsley 2013b). These web-based methods are numerous and wideranging including online questionnaires, cyber-ethnographies, online contentanalysis and online interviews1 and online focus groups just to name a few. There is little doubt that the transformation in how people encounter each other (Baym 2010) such as sending emails, texts, instant messaging, photo-sharing, and playing online games using a range of devices including computers, iPads and mobile phones has extended to how research is conducted. In the emerging literature on online methods attention is being paid to the many pragmatic issues involved, for example, design, building rapport and ethical considerations (Chen and Hinton 1999; Madge 2010; Madge and O’Connor 2002; O’Connor et al. 2008) but few are focusing on how using the different mediums might feel for researchers and participants (but see Pile 2011 on the unconscious dimensions of the rapport between researcher and researched). Interestingly, running alongside this trend towards online methods is

another trend, and that is to use more performative methodologies. By performative methodologies I mean methods that focus on how different bodily practices involving the multiple senses of sound, smell, taste, touch and vision can be used to produce meaning and data. For example, Longhurst, Ho and Johnston (2008) use ‘the body’ as ‘instrument of research’ in a research project which involved cooking and eating with migrant women, Colls (2006) goes shopping with and tries on clothes with large women, and Waitt and Duffy (2010) listen to music at an outdoor festival. It is perhaps somewhat ironic that both these trends – online methodologies

and performative methodologies – are unfolding at the same time. In short, there has been simultaneous uptake of online methodologies that have no physical contact with people and of performative methodologies that focus more critically on bodily performance, taking seriously non-verbal interactions as a way of capturing meaning that goes beyond words. In carrying out this research I was cognoscente of these two methodological developments (online and performative) and deeply interested in what difference the body might make in relation to having an online or offline presence.