Personal Response to Digital Frontiers Roundtable: XuHao Yang Page: 2
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Through the presentations in relation to "social media" from the Digital Frontiers conference,
one of the underlying connections could be found is that "social media" can be identified as a
catalyst or "cultural platform" that blurs the boundaries between different communities,
reshaping the related cultural identities, and facilitating the dynamics of cultural transformations
and re-configurations between different cultural entities.
Bhambra in her article unwraps that cultures could help construct identities, and shape as
well as retain the relevant boundaries (Bhambra, 32-33). Further, she argues that "an
interpretation of culture" could be considered as "something which is intrinsically fluid,
changing and dynamic" as well as "a relational field" (Bhambra, 34). In other words, if an
understanding of particular culture, like what Bhambra addresses, can be constructed by different
factors continuously and would not be a fixed definition but rather a mobile dynamics, people
can conclude that identities could be a kind of changeable perceptions or negotiations. Social
media, in some sense, would be the "social tools" that can facilitate shaping or reshaping
communities by mobile and dynamic "cultural identities". For instance, "the Dallas Way-the
Dallas GLBT History Project" claims that they hope to reach the "marginal groups", such as
gays and lesbians, by using social media. That is, it would be a gateway that can connect those
who own same cultural identity, a platform that can build a network to reach and explore
previous "unknown people", and a catalyst that can help shape a new community rather than
retain the previous situation defined by "others" in society.
Indeed, different cultural identities that are based on different variables determine who
you are, where you belong, and where you don't belong. Also, belonging in relation to cultural
identity would be loose and ambiguous, the boundaries, also, would be fuzzy as well. In terms of
me, sometime it is hard to define obviously what my identity could be. For example, in China, I
am "local people", namely, at the side of "the majority", but in the States, I belong to "the
international students", which could be located at "the minority". I cannot fully explain who I
am, namely my exact identities based on those cross-cultural and international experiences
unless I can define the relevant variables, but I am quite sure that the boundaries between my
identities should be unclear, vague, and dynamic. More important, as ways for perceiving the
world in which I am living, the examination of belonging provides me with different
perspectives to look at myself, and re-recognize or relocate the positions between "self' and
Bhambra, Gurminder K. "Culture, Identity and Rights: Challenging Contemporary Discourses of
Belonging." In The Situated Politics of Belonging, Nira Yuval-Davis, Kalpana Kannabiran,
and Ulrike Vieten, 32-34. London: Sage Publications Ltd., 2006.
Emery, Robert. "Telling Stories of The Dallas Way: Finding LGBT History and Creating
Community Using Social Media." Presentation at the Digital Frontiers Conference at the
University of North Texas, September 21, 2012.
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Yang, XuHao. Personal Response to Digital Frontiers Roundtable: XuHao Yang, paper, September 21, 2012; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc109720/m1/2/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Visual Arts + Design.