As you may know I have been working on a couple of projects. One of these is the continuation of a study I started as part of my thesis project. Well I went and graduate and am now enrolled to start grad school in the fall, but I got the itch to continue and so the Queer Culture & Social Media Study continues.
I am still going through a good deal of submissions that I am very excited about. Last month I finished a very exciting submission from HeliosRex which can be viewed on the QCSMS tumblr or at it’s FB page. Helios recently presented a paper, “Queering Kinship Theory, or, How to be Gay on the Internet” at the Queer Horizons (Queer Theory Conference) at Stanford University this past April (2011), in which he mentions the project and more. Here is a snippet from his discussion on the QCSMS.
Online Social Media and Queering Kinship
Deputyjoev, aka Joseph Varisco, is using tumblr as a platform to gather submissions for a project exploring the role social networking plays in the life of queers. Rather than a blog devoted to self-expression, the Queer Culture and Media Study blog is dedicated to archiving narratives from users about the ways they utilize social media. He asked his followers for short video submissions that “explore the role social media plays in [their queer life], and [their] perspective on its relationship to the queer community.” The responses to the project were varied—some submissions saw Tumblr as an extension of online cruising culture—but many of the contributors discussed the queer kin they constructed through Tumblr. Many found online friends around the nation who were supportive of their exploration of a queer identities more complex than those seen in the media, or different from those nearby. One contributor spoke of how he found other users who could validate his feminine gender performance, a message he could not find in the homonormative gay culture surrounding him—a culture which fetishizes the ‘straight acting faggot.’ Another is seen in his room, experimenting with face painting and body modification in his articulation of a queer sense of self. By and large, users are turning to the Internet to find support from other queers exploring what it means to be queer in similar ways. Varisco suggests that articulations of identity in blog format, “either as constructed or unedited, are a reflection of society and queer culture as a whole and [introduce] the question of whether or not we become more free to express and explore our identities through the Internet than we can in real life. Varisco envisions the internet as a tool for the articulation of a queer identity.”