Queering Online Place: LGBT+ Performances Motivate Social Media Design
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Despite political advances, LGBT+ experiences on social media are affected by a history of marginalization. LGBT+ people adjust the presentation of their gender and sexual identities in response to social pressures, but their level of visibility differs between social media. We interviewed seventeen LGBT+ students at a socially-conservative university to investigate: (1) how do social media affect LGBT+ user experience of managing self presentation; and (2) how do social media affect participation in LGBT+ communities? We found that LGBT+ users prefer to present their identities through sharing photos and political articles. LGBT+ users benefit from impersonal communities on reddit and more personal bonds on Tumblr. LGBT+ users rely on the perceived difficulty-of-use of a social network to an intolerant audience to gauge how visible they can be. We develop implications for design that motivate queer social media, which give people abilities to define their visibility on social media, in contrast with the HCI design principle of indiscriminate ‘making visible’.
Carrasco, Matthew Gregory (2017). Queering Online Place: LGBT+ Performances Motivate Social Media Design. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from