Tag Archives: internet

Ever have a moment…

…when you’re doing research and you find the one thing that exemplifies every argument you’ve been trying to make and sums it all up perfectly and you’re like OMGOMGOMGOMGYESTHISISAMAZING and then….you realize that it kind of makes you seem irrelevant…? Well. It’s too good not to share so check this out.

Now, having watched that and hopefully agreeing with me about it’s off-the-chart level of cool, I hope you are interested in learning more. This is a project, started by Deputyjoev or Joseph Varisco, where queers from all over submit videos of themselves talking about the role of social media in their lives (qcsms.tumblr.com).Varisco introduces each video with a version of the same intro line…

“Vincent [or Helios or Colin or Grace] is a queer individual who uses the internet…and has something to say” (qcsms.tumblr.com)

Insights provided by folks who have participated in this project so far are fascinating, sexy, revolutionary, obvious, confusing, theoretical, real, sad, funny, and queer. Their experiences translate the theoretical notions of framing into practice by illuminating the role of technology and internet space/community in the blood-and-sweat lives of real people. Real queers. I have to give a shout out to Varisco for thinking of this project before I did–I am jealous, but impressed. 🙂

Here are a few notable quotes that jumped out at me from the videos:

Alex: “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” (qcsms.tumblr.com).

Vincent: “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” (qcsms.tumblr.com).

Helios: “When I first started thinking that I was gay I would hide in my dorm room…just listening to the coming out archives on Youtube and all of these vloggers telling their stories about coming out and I would just listen and think…maybe I’ll finally here one of these stories and it will resonate” (qcsms.tumblr.com).

Grace: “I really kind of started to form…a queer lens. Kind of started to look at things through my identity” (qcsms.tumblr.com).

We are a generation of queers who have found, explored, created, maintained, disrupted, and reaffirmed our identities and relationships online. We are the internet.

Works Cited:

Varisco, Joseph. “A Queer Culture and Social Media Study.” Qcsms. 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2012. <qcsms.tumblr.com>.

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Let’s talk frames

In reading about the experiences of queer folks online, my inner theoretical monster has definitely lept from the shadows…as I’m sure you can tell by reading some of my previous posts. One thing that has become very important in terms of my personal understanding of queer meaning in blogging and vlogging spaces is the concept of frames, introduced to me and to the social world by one, Erving Goffman.

Goffman’s theory of frame analyses explains that communities, groups, and sets of individuals have a certain shared perception that allows them to define what reality is and what situations mean. This shared perception, a set of rules that governs any given activity, Goffman identifies as the “frame.” The process of framing is one that concerns the structure of experience and the organization of collective activity; Goffman is not at all concerned here with the agency or consciousness of the individual. His goal is to make observations about objective structures, seeing the subject as unselfconscious (Jameson 238). Though the individual may define his or her situation as “real,” the reasoning behind that belief is constructed socially within the context of a frame.

The isolation of a particular frame takes place when the analyst focuses in on a “strip” of activity or actions. According to Goffman, the term strip refers to “any arbitrary slice or cut from the stream of ongoing activity” (Goffman 10). Any instance that can be identified and organized can be analyzed through its frame, and as many possible frames exist as the ways in which an event can be differentiated (Craib 81). Goffman’s theory contributes the idea that one strip of activity could have many meanings assigned to it, depending on the frame within which the actor is operating. The frame is merely the tool by which we analyze events; a camera, as it were, that creates a picture of reality (Gameson 603).  This picture is comprised of what the actor is “alive to at a particular moment” or what he can “take into his mind” (Goffman 13). The frame serves to connect meaning to a situation that would otherwise be meaningless to the individual.

Each strip of activity is originally located within a “primary framework” that determines whether the situation is naturally occurring or man-made (Gameson 604). The frames are then situated within a still larger structure: the “definition of the situation,” which is described as the actor’s largest subjective response. Within the primary framework, then, groups have the ability to alter the meaning of the strip through collective action and understanding. The two processes by which this change becomes possible are “keying,” or shifting the framework to change the mutual understanding of certain actions, or “fabrication,” the active deception of one or more individuals by a group (Goffman 40). So imagine you’re hanging out with your friends down at the Chok’lit Shoppe and Pop Tate is slinging you a couple of burgers. (Let’s hope he has black bean burgers or some other vegan option at this point. Pop–come on) You say to your buddy, “Hey man! That baseball game this afternoon was real groovy! Every guy really gave it his all!” So your buddy responds, “Yeah cool story bro. Too bad you were there giving it your all or we could have actually won the game.” Your bud has just changed the key of your frame from happy go-lucky Archie land to jerk-tastic Reggie city by making you feel wicked crummy about what you just said/did. Capeesh? Goffman describes these processes as:

“The set of conventions by which a given activity, one already meaningful in terms of some primary framework, is transformed by the participants to something quite else” (Goffman 43-44).

Scholars of frame analysis believe that frames are indispensable to the process of communication (Scheff 371). Without an understanding of context as it relates to frame, as Thomas Scheff wrote, an analyst “may well misinterpret the meaning of discourse (Scheff 372). Now—try to keep all of this in mind when reading my next post. Buckle your seat belts and prepare for…A CASE STUDY!

Works Cited:

Craib, I. “Erving Goffman: Frame Analysis.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences 8.1 (1978): 79-86. Print.

Gameson, William A. “Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience.” Contemporary Sociology 4.6 (1975). Print.

Goffman, Erving. Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience. New York: Harper & Row, 1974. Print.

Scheff, Thomas J. “The Structure of Context: Deciphering Frame Analysis*.”Sociological Theory 23.4 (2005): 368-85. Print.

Image Credit: 

Goffman: http://bit.ly/Jesxdh

Pop Tate: http://bit.ly/IFFjPv


the frayed end of a rope

what i want to do is write, with my face very close to the page, carefully carving out the lines that will tell you what i’m discovering. and then i want to sing you those lines. the ones that fell out of my pen when i tried to do something academic. so here it is. jumbled but honest, just the same.

about a year ago i discovered the internet. well, i knew about the internet. aim turned into msn turned into yahoo and askjeeves and google to myspace to facebook to gmail to youtube to youporn to hulu. i knew about the world wide web. but a year ago, when i was lost in a mess of my own sexuality and dependency and confused, emotional, political, gray space, i started a blog. on tumblr. an extremely quiet blog without my name or my photo and rarely an original thought. and then i slowly began to make my way into the queerest, most liberating, strange space i had ever known. i spent hours a day, scrolling through photos of outfits and landscapes, tent forts and tattoos and fancy cappuccinos. and videos of people’s girlfriends and boyfriends and boifriends and grrrlfriends and kittens and questions and do it yourself beanbag instructions and kitchen herb gardens and hormone updates and advice on everything under the sun. and there was humor and pain and people wrote about their feelings and their breakups and i wrote about my feelings and my breakup. and there was gender. and sexuality. and so. much. fucking. gender. more than i had ever seen. there were boys and women and girls, men, butches, femmes, bears, twinks, androgynes, genderqueer and genderfucked and genderfluid, mtf, ftm, mtftm, ftmtwtf, transmen, transwomen, transfags and dykes and queers and birls and fairies and bdsm and softbutchgrrlylesbois and gays and bis and trans* folks and polyamorous, pansexual, transsexual, omnisexual, demisexual, asexual, all sexual porn. and stories and pictures and names and pronouns and questions and answers and everything in between the certain and the totally fucking uncertain. and it was all right there. on my computer. on tumblr. on youtube. right there behind my screen. and i was on the outside—safely out of reach. safely anonymous, safely in denial, dangerously curious. they inspired me. they confused me. they lit up a sexy little fire in the pit of my stomach that i called…intellectual curiosity. academic interest. research. that’s valid. that’s understandable. that’s safe. something i would later come to realize was kinship. a very painful perfect, deep—rooted secret connection. i had found the frayed end of a rope and i wanted to follow it. but it took me a while to figure out that the anchor on the other end was me.