Alexis’ Lothian talk on “Queer Geek methodologies: Social Justice Fandom as a Transformative Digital Humanities” was incredibly interesting and applicable to the discussions that we have been having in class. I thought that Lothian did a great job of showing how queer theory is applicable to life, through the medium of digital platforms. Individuals also have the ability on digital platforms to recreate media that they see as problematic, and reclaim these media portrayals in the ways that they see fit. Since a lot of Lothian’s talk focussed on fleeting digital media platforms that were popular and important spaces for her generation, I was interested in analyzing the digital platforms that were popular during my teenage years. One similarity between what were arguably the two most popular digital platforms as I was a youth, Club Penguin and FormSpring, was the fact that both of these platforms operated under ambiguous identity; users created a username for Club Penguin and each question asked under FormSpring came up anonymously. In Club Penguin, users could picked from a selection of pre-created penguins as their user face. While there were games for users to play on the website, a lot of time was spent walking around and conversing with other penguins on the site. Formspring was a site that allowed users to go onto another users page and anonymously ask that user a question. When the user decided to answer the question, the question and response would post to their timeline for others to read. This anonymity factor on both sites led to a lot of toxic behavior–especially for an audience mainly composed of young teenagers. These youth had the ability to hind behind a screen and say whatever they wanted, no matter how problematic; this led to a culture known as cyber-bullying.
But, after hearing Lothian speak about the ways in which old digital mediums created a platform for queer methodology, I wonder if the platforms of my youth could be transformed in a way that led to a more transformative politics. More specifically, I am wondering if anonymous sites, that transcended any human-like interface, could break down identity categories in a transformative way. Although it is sometimes difficult to picture how the queer theory that we read in class could be applied into today’s world, I believe that digital media, as an extension of our reality, has the power to institute this change. Although there are always going to be problematic trolls who infiltrate these cites, I still believe that a digital medium would be a great way to implement the theories that theorists like Puar speak of in “I Wound Rather be a Cyborg than a Goddess.” Anonymous digital platforms have the potential to be the perfect space for assemblage theory. This is because the power of assemblage theory is that it de-privileges the human body. In this was, so does an anonymous user site that uses non-human user faces. While identity formation is important for coalition building and finding solace in shared identities, the internet could be a meaningful intersection between reality and illusion to indulge in a post-humanist assemblage.