In time for the Chicago Zine Film Fest and in submission to WTUL New Orleans 91.5 FM Broadcasts the Future academic conference.
The Queer Culture & Social Media Study is a documentary project that has been ongoing for two years and continues to expand and explore the relationship between queer social media use in community development and identity exploration.
Following the conversation of 45 individuals from across the queer non-heteronormative spectrum in the United States and abroad the study continues to unveil vital information in understanding a shift in cultural landscapes. For more information please contact us at QueerSocialMediaStudy@gmail.com
“Social media in the queer community is a great thing in my perspective. I think that it really encourages people to get together and, you know, come out of your shell a little bit, you know, if you can’t do it in real life who knows, maybe you can do it on the internet.”
Andrew is one of the first tumblrs this project followed. He is accomplished in his field of arts administration as a recent graduate and male fashion/lifestyles writer for places like MoreThanMary.com. Here Andrew discusses how he has balanced developing relationships online with his IRL lifestyle.
“I can put some of my artwork, my writing, my photography online and get reassurance and also find a purpose for myself right now.”
Dane is a brilliant transfer to Chicago from Jacksonville, FL who continues to utilize relationship building with other gay men and queer individuals online that fuel his creative work and exploration of self-identity. Here he discusses the roots of this process and where that path is taking him.
“My disability has always been something I was conscious of…something I was constantly ashamed of, until I realized I was gay.”
Alastair is an impressive individual seeing out a queer space that satisfies his integrity driven values after moving from Atlanta to Philadelphia. In his video submissions he discusses the intersectionality of both his queer and disabled identities.
Notes: Online Social Media and Queering Kinship
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.”
“I think that’s telling less about the medium, but more about this need to imagine community that is outside of these straight linear fictions.”
Alex is a PhD student studying issues of gender, sexuality, race and social media. In this video he discusses a queer sensibility and what role social media plays in disassembling a linear concept of identity.
“I’m interested in disclosure as a larger performance of identity and I think that social media had a really important role to play in that.”
Vincent is a HIV+ artist who works explicitly with the concept of disclosure throughout his work and social life, such as through his project PWIFd (pwifd.tumblr.com). Within this video he explores how disclosure impacts his use and practice of engaging with other people on the internet.
“So in my own life I like to wear women’s clothing and then go into public spaces and not try to conceal my maleness as a way to forcibly queer the space around me and bring trans issues to the forefront of people’s minds.”
Helios recently presented his 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). Here he discusses the myriad of active ways his considerations for identity and community take shape through social media and his life.
“So you feel you are part of a growing trend and are comforted that you are not alone?” / “Isn’t it going to be just a lot of easy access pornography?”
Colin and partner, Oisin are photographers who document the regular, intimate, public and personal aspects of their relationship in a series that continues today. In this video they investigate what the purpose of social media has been for them and their work. For more of their work visit quinnfordandscout.eu
“That’s kinda what the internet and social media is all about is finding a community, a tribe…”
Topher is 26-year-old graphic designer and a multifaceted artist who discusses how social media shaped his introduction to gay communities growing up in rural South Dakota.