This special issue, guest edited by Crystal Abidin and Gabriele de Seta collects the confessions of five digital ethnographers laying bare their methodological failures, disciplinary posturing, and ethical dilemmas. The articles are meant to serve as a counseling stations for fellow researchers who are approaching digital media ethnographically. On the one hand, this issue’s contributors acknowledge the rich variety of methodological articulations reflected in the lexicon of “buzzword ethnography”. On the other, they evidence how doing ethnographic research about, on, and through digital media is most often a messy, personal, highly contextual enterprise fraught with anxieties and discomforts. Through the four “private messages from the field” collected in this issue, we acknowledge the messiness, open-endedness and coarseness of ethnographic research in-the-making.