To Be Exposed (Research Update #4)

It’s become increasingly clear to me that the work of digital research doesn’t really end. Yes, I will be presenting my work and progress as a symposium in just a few short weeks, where I will talk about what I learned through the summer and early fall with both peers and faculty. The internet, however, keeps going; I always find new tweets worthy of my attention that I incorporate into my existing observations. Some of these recent tweets, however, lit a lightbulb inside my head in relation to everything else.

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Colorful Politics (Research Update #3)

The world of social media politics is one to truly behold. Someone once told me that only those who don’t know how to debate do their debating on social media. I have two varying opinions on this: for one, they have something of a point – social media is notorious for being a space for mostly close-minded discussion regarding politics and culture, complete with trolling and other inappropriate behavior; on the flip side, social media is an outlet for those who traditionally have been excluded from formal debate to express their opinions, often unapologetically.

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Not Straight With Me: Criticisms of Heterosexuals by Queer Users (Research Update #2)

Baby showers aren’t known for their obscenity, but there’s one that made the rounds on Twitter that’s probably cause for criticism. A tweet by @HelloKennedi (and shared by Tiq Milan) contained a gender reveal party video – one in which the gender is revealed by the father in an inappropriate manner (NSFW). The responses to this content were of widespread condemnation, especially from QTPOC individuals.

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Power of the Craft: Amélie Lamont Spotlight (Research Update #1)

I believe it would be unfair of me to have a favorite subject of study in my research project. All the individuals and organizations that I have decided to study bring unique styles of interactions to the forefront of my research, often in ways that challenge me to rethink what exactly I’m looking at. No one online community is quite like another, and this project seeks to highlight this simple fact among those figures who belong to marginalized communities – those whose voices “in real life” are more often than not suppressed or ignored.

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A Community All on Our Own: Digital Spaces for Black Queer People (Abstract)

Black Queer (LGBTQ) individuals occupy a niche space in society. Not only do they belong to a community bounded by the shared experience of Blackhood in the world, but they also live in a space defined by the politics of sexual identity. To belong to two marginalized groups presents both unique challenges and special opportunities. Especially with the advent of the World Wide Web and social media, Black Queer people can coalesce in a digital environment where they can develop their own community, complete with coded language and particular attitudes towards the larger society. In this project, titled Black Rainbow, I will be researching Black Queer communities on Twitter (taking into account other social media platforms), placing focus on their sociolinguistics and politics. Black Queer people often do not use the lingo of their straight Black counterparts, but also don’t subscribe to the same politics as their White LGBTQ peers. From the phenomenon of the larger “Black Twitter” to movements such as #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, Black Queer people live their digital lives in ways we often do not consider in the mainstream. My goal is to shed a light on this oft-misunderstood community and highlight its position as crossroads of intersectionality from which we can learn about what social justice and community-building means to some of the most systematically disenfranchised among us.