Trans Experiences on Social Media

We are studying the experiences of trans users across different social media sites in order to understand how system design and audience interaction affects this experience. This understanding can be used in turn to develop designs that are inclusive and encourage audiences to provide social support.

There are initially two phases in this project. We are currently in Phase 1, conducting exploratory interviews with participants.

Phase 1: Exploratory Interviews

In this phase, we seek to understand what social media platforms are being used by trans users, how they are using them, and how they feel system design and their audiences affect they way they use them. This includes exploring how identity is constructed and changes over time in different social medias, as well how online interactions can lead to positive or negative outcomes.

Phase 2: Trace Ethnography and Network Analysis

Following Phase 1, we anticipate conducting a trace ethnography and network analysis using donated data from participants’ social media. In this approach, we will observe what users post on social media, how they utilize system features to control the audience to these posts, and how this controlled audience responds. This phase will examine how these behaviors vary across the various social media sites that participants use.

Research Team

This project is led by Anthony Pinter, a PhD student in the Identity Lab. Anthony’s pronouns are he/his. More information about Anthony can be found on the About page. Anthony’s advisor, Dr. Jed Brubaker, is also involved in the project, and has experience in this research area (see Haimson, Brubaker, Dombrowski, & Hayes, 2015 and Haimson, Brubaker, Dombrowski, & Hayes, 2016).

Currently supporting Anthony in this project are two undergraduate research assistants:

  • Kayden Adams is an undergraduate student at CU Boulder, majoring in Computer Science. Kayden’s pronouns are they/them.
  • Rachael Robinson is an undergraduate student at CU Boulder, majoring in Applied Mathematics. Rachael’s pronouns are she/her.

This project is supported by the CU Beverly Sears Small Grant and the CU UROP programs.