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Group 7: Youtube of One's Own

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The article was mainly about "coming out" videos that were found posted on youtube by numerous youtubers. Our group discussed the different aspects posting up these "coming out" videos and how it has helped other GLBT individuals to post up their own as well. We felt for these individuals to post up these videos, they were able to find a supportive network of people who have gone through the same situation and it inspired them to do the same. For someone who may be far away from other GLBTs, technology gives them the opportunity engage in a social change that is occuring online. The idea of "coming out" videos was very interesting because it gave the person a chance to gather their thoughts and say it once, instead of having to tell other family and friends numerous times about their sexual identity. However, we also came to the conclusion that the person who posted up the "coming out" videos, is actually coming out more than once, based on how many times the video is viewed. Not only that but just the idea of doing a "coming out" video, it forces these GLBTs to be viewed as gay in a certain context or space that is slowly being constructed.

Small Group #8

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Our group discussed the article "From Websites to Wal-Mart". In this article, the author specifically points to rural queer communities and the ways they are making their own queer spaces. According to Gray, queer communities in rural areas do not have the resources or anonymity afforded to large urban communities, so their queer organizing is often done in alternative ways.

Gray argues that the surge of online communities and social networking have become so embedded in regular social interaction that the line between the "online" constructed communities and the "offline" reality becomes blurred, with the two separate entities coming together to create something wholly different.

Gray uses the example of a queer group using a Wal-Mart as a drag show venue to demonstrate both the ways that rural queer communities are organizing, and the ways that the offline and online come together. In this Wal-Mart, people are doing drag down the aisles, buying and wearing things they find inside the store. For small communities that do not have specific spaces owned or run by and/or for queers, other meeting places like a Wal-Mart can be the only spot available. These large corporate entities (Gray also points to gas stations and McDonald's) are commonly found to host queer groups in rural areas because of the apathy of employees and managers. A small, family-owned coffee shop or bar can be unfriendly or unwelcoming to some, and these large corporate places have employees who either don't care or can't force people to leave. In the Wal-Mart example, pictures of the drag show were then posted online, gathering even more followers and encouraging more participation. This involvement in the online community helped the group grow and encouraged more participation in the drag shows.

Our group discussed the use of social media in queer organizing, and how that has become a great tool to get people interested in an event or to find out about an event. We have found great events and groups to join because of facebook or twitter, and those can be a great tool in queer organizing.

This article really outlined the idea of a "queer" space, and what it could mean. While we may not think of Wal-Mart as inherently queer friendly, those in other communities have obviously thought otherwise. Are queer spaces just those that have a lot of queer people in them? Are they specifically designed to showcase queer people or queer culture? The idea of queer space can be very different dependent on where you are geographically, and all queer spaces are not created equal.

Groups 3 and 4: Facebook

Collective Identity, Activism, and the Construction of Social Problems

With the creation of facebook people from all walks of life are able to come together. This is particularly helpful for those in the GLBT community. It has created an outlet where people from villages, unincorporated towns, metropolis', and more can come together and share common likes and aspirations. For those in the GLBT community it can be a place, an outlet to find themselves and try/examine new things. These options are especially important for those in the GLBT community who have confirmed a new identity or are questioning it. Facebook and the internet in general can be a great place to find out about Queer culture (what do certain flags or signs represent, Queer book groups, GLBT allied organizations, where are the "gay" bars in my city, etc.). The possibilities on facebook clearly seem endless, but our group was quick to realize that there is a dark side as well.

As mentioned before facebook can be a liberating environment to be a part of. However, we our group seemed to group seemed to form a general consensus that there is a false sense of control on facebook. The options given for creating a profile are very limited and clearly set to a heteronormative standard. For example, "Sex" male or female. What about transgender, or woman who identifies as male, or bisexual, or no gender at all? Then there is the "looking for" section with the options of friendship, dating, a relationship, or networking. What about wanting to show that you have more than one serious relationship or you practice polyfidelity? Also brought up in our discussion was the directed marketing/advertising based on the sex that you choose in your profile. We noticed that the adds that bombard you on the side of the page are geared towards male or female. For women: Vogue Magazine, perfume, get free makeup, etc. For men: girls in your area, check out the latest girl on girl action, old spice, etc.

As you can see the endless possibilities on the internet can be freeing and educational. The facebook phenom in many ways is also a great place to make connections and express yourself. However, it is important to see the normative "rules" that are set on many social networks.

How effective is the internet or media in helping youth in their coming out process and the understanding of the public?

The consensus of the group here was that the internet is a great place to explore, question, and learn. We also thought it was a great place to establish a group of people that an individual may identify with. The internet is a place to experiment with new places, people, and ideas. With all of these options in mind, the coming out process for youth can be as open or anonymous as they choose.

Group 1: Youtube

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Youtube.jpg
Part one:
A.) Title: "A Youtube of ones own?"
We believe that this title makes reference to Viginia Wolfe's "A Room of Ones Own." It is not talking about physical space but creative space, an outlet for personal creativity.
-Coming out videos on Youtube create creative space.
-Not physical space- other people are allowed in, public sphere, opens you up to comments left by people you do not know.
-Asking how it is similar and how is it different?
Coming out videos and rhetorical action.
-Super emotional. Finally making a choice about coming out and then the video turns into an April Fool's prank for his friends.
-This video was making a mockery of the internal struggle that people are experiencing.
-This is not a joking matter. Many people have committed suicide because of these struggles they are facing surrounding their sexuality.
-This then turns into a space that is not safe for personal expression.
-This can also be a source for community. A place for people to to talk and communicate with other people that are feeling the same way. Makes it easier to meet people based on identity. Building strength in numbers.

B.) Did you like the article? Do you agree?
We felt that this was a lot like other articles of the same nature. It is awkward in academic spaces to write about social media . It takes a very sociological perspective on how communities form.
The article was not posed as an absolute truth, there were no real conclusions made. It was focused on a small group of people.

C.) Construction:
-People can post anything they want which leads to opportunities for people to provide both positive an negative feedback.
-Our Facebook/Youtube selves have become more real to us than our physical selves. "You didn't comment on my Facebbok post." "You aren't my Facebook friend."

Part two: How do you queer time and space?
-Youtube presents itself as queer space (can't draw boundaries) as opposed to physical space.
-Everything lives forever on the internet.
-With social networking youhave time to think of responses to negative feedback before you post them.
-It is easier to bash or insult someone on the internet since you cannot see them. There are no perceived consequences.

Group 6 Queery Response: Online versus Offline "selves"

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The Internet, as we know, is not biological or living, but rather a man made invention. Society often talks about it in terms of crawling, expanding, chattering, exploding, and other sorts of life-like actions. This likely happens for many reasons, but one that is of interest for me is that the Internet has outgrown (another word!) its control by any one or several institutions and seems limitless in capability and function. It is, by all accounts, a very new invention that we have come to embrace and become dependent on. The Internet as a medium as grown faster than any other historically and continues to change itself by those who use and connect with it.

As a medium for queer spaces, its boundaries are limitless and is fueled by engagement. We all become nodes and conduits in creating and defining these spaces, ourselves, and the world around us. These spaces can be much more fluid and ripe for revolution when compared to their physical counterparts. Communication and interaction between people across the globe, representing a multitude of identities, becomes commonplace. Curiosity and questioning fosters new questions and new possibilities. Media, ideas, and knowledge can be accessed, shared, dissembled, and rearticulated at breakneck speeds, not possible in physical spaces.

We are at the tip of the revolution. Innovation, according to a computer scientist named Christopher Langton, has a tendency to gravitate toward "the edge of chaos: the fertile zone between too much order and too much anarchy". We've only begun to use the Internet as a tool for community building, the capabilities and limits of our online selves are not yet, and may never be defined.

Enjoy this 17 minute video from TED on the astonishing power of networks by Steven Johnson called "Where good ideas come from":

Group 5 LGBT identity and online new media

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Some key points in our website are that new technologies are helping GLBT members form new communities online and in some cases offline. The internet helps people find each other whether it be a support system, new friends, old friends and partners. We thought it was interesting how the author commented on seeing a drag queen walking through Walmart. Most of us agreed that our town would think it was strange to see anyone walking through Walmart, Target, etc in drag. We commented on how people from different part of the world can interact with each other without stepping out of their comfort zone and find a community, which can be good and bad. Yeah they can find supportive communities but at the same time they don't have to interact face to face with people. We agreed that while online helps people not feel trapped and helps them voice their opinions; there should be some sort of limit that people put on themselves concerning their online use. Face to face interaction is pretty important and while the internet is nice it needs to be second place to offline. It's pretty dangerous to create a whole community primarily online because what if the internet breaks down or the computer breaks down. Those people lost their only community. Also is there a way to make Facebook, MySpace, etc. less hetero-normative? Do you think it would be good to have more than just the male and female option? Are there other ways to make them less hetero-normative?

Day 7: September 28

For today's class, we will devote most of our time to small group work. I will be moving around from group to group to discuss the readings. Additionally, I well spend time in each small group reviewing the assignments, answering questions and providing mini-tutorials on the blog and twitter. Here's the small group assignment. Even if you are not in class today, you are responsible for the blog assignment in part three of the group exercise.

Announcements:

  • The Diablog assignment has been posted. Check it out, read through it carefully, post questions on the entry for the assignment, and think about which week you want to sign up for. 
  • Your first query response entry is due this Friday. Use this entry to help you out.
  • Class is canceled this Thursday (9/30). I encourage you to use our class time on Thursday to engage with/get caught on the blog and twitter. 

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