My friend Brian Goldfarb and I just released Distraction Span: Technologies of Productive Disruption at MediaCommons. “With this cluster of The New Everyday we initiate a conversation about social media that sidesteps the panic over youth and digital distraction while not being afraid to look head-on at their everyday engagements with mobile devices and social networking.” Now we hope you will join the conversation.

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Unfortunately, I can not make the Digital Media and Learning Conference occurring at UCSD February 18-20 because I’ll be in Berlin for the premier of THE OWLS. I have organized my talk as a twenty-minute playlist on YouTube, moving between queer youth videos and my analysis of how copying, mocking, mimicking and faking are no longer queer.

Liz Losh and Jonathan Alexander write: “Eventually the YouTube platform may encourage more content creators to produce hoaxes, parodies, mash-ups, and digitally composited homage, but we would argue that those forms of production could also invite queer participation that contests normative ideas about authenticity and stability and could allow subversive rhetoric to be seen, disseminated, and iterated.”  I agree wholeheartedly with my colleagues. Via my playlist, I hope to show what might be lost, for queer youth, and anyone else with a political agenda, when making our work on YouTube by taking up the “hoax, parody, mash-up” or fake without a linked play within the terrain of identity and community. For, any formal tactic is only as relevant as is its applicability to real world goals, communities, and bodies.

The talk continues, with highs and lows, videos good and bad, fake and real. I conclude: “To be productively queer was never simply to copy and mock, even when marked with a flouncy flourish or some serious realness, it was always to do so with an actual change in mind: change in form as well as in seeing and being. If the self-conscious, self-aware, self-evident copy is no longer queer at all, no longer productive, I suggest instead that we must constantly adapt our forms to allow for that truly unsettling wedge that produces for viewers and makers alike queer ways of seeing and knowing that rub the wrong way, in the name of what is right: differences and dissonances that matter.”