It’s been over a year since Levi Sands, Amy Chapman, and I started talking about doing a topic model analysis of the LDS Freedom Forum, an online space for far-right Mormonism. I’ve usually been the one slowing us down, but today, I finally checked off a task that’s been on my lost for a month and a half. I’m really excited about the project, I just need to stop dragging my feet.
For over three years now, I’ve been getting increasingly involved with research projects that involve the online far right in one way or another. One of the most interesting ways that I’ve developed as a researcher during this time is having to think through in greater detail my commitments to research ethics. Because my research typically focuses on public social media data, I am rarely required to obtain informed consent from those whom I study.
I’m pleased to share that a study I contributed to—Gayservatives on Gab: LGBTQ+ Communities and Far Right Social Media—is now available (open-access!) through the Social Media + Society journal. Dr. Evan Brody is the lead author on the study, and we were lucky enough to have support from PhD student Mehroz Sajjad. Here’s the abstract for the study:
In the United States, LGBTQ+ individuals are often imagined as inherently politically progressive, but this assumption overlooks the experiences of self-identified LGBTQ+ conservatives.
Last week, I got the chance to chat with Salt Lake Tribune religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack about Latter-day Saint missionaries use of social media videos, and I was pleased to see the article published on Sunday. I hadn’t been paying attention to online missionary videos, but the subject fit nicely with the reading I’ve been doing on platform and platform values recently:
Both kinds of accounts “are drawing from the internet/influencer cultures of these platforms,” [Greenhalgh] says.
Just explained something I learned from studying far right spaces in Mormon social media to collaborators on a project studying queer spaces in far right social media, which is not an experience I expected when starting grad school in ed tech.
You cannot understand online Mormonism without understanding Mormon feminism. The more I read, the clearer that becomes.
I am not sure what I was expecting when I started looking for Mormon* content on Gab, but “we should get the missionaries on this platform” wasn’t it.
If only I had known as a middle schooler who was uncool for not knowing who Eminem was that one day I would be explaining a “Real Slim Shady” joke in an academic research paper about how Mormons use Twitter 😂🤷🏼♂️
I’m trying to succinctly describe a Latter-day Saint “solemn assembly” in an academic manuscript, and it’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.