Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Rhetoric and Professional Communication

First Advisor

Barbara Blakely


This study investigates the ways in which queer and trans people of color (QTPoC) navigate digital social platforms in order to create, connect, and share. As social media and other digital platforms are being used more in writing and communication instruction, it has become necessary for scholars to look critically at these tools and how we use them in the classroom. While research has been done highlighting methods and motivations of use of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, this research adds to the conversation of skills our QTPoC students, specifically, have, and what they have to teach us about communication online. The goal of this research was to explore how QTPoC use various platforms, to compare this with what the platforms argued for in terms of engagement, and establish ways of reflecting on our classrooms in order to better facilitate anti-oppressive classroom experiences.

This dissertation reports findings of a two part study. First, participatory interviews allowed QTPoC users to build a narrative around their platform engagement. The second part of the study included a digital rhetorical analysis that focused on the structure of the platforms, and what types of communication affordances were privileged.

Three major themes were identified during the course of data analysis: interaction, community, and curation. The theme of interaction was concerned with specific tools that were used strategically in order to create, connect, and share content. In the case of the community theme, these were issues that participants highlighted of particular interest or import in terms of their identification within the QTPoC community. Lastly, the theme of curation dealt with issues of preserving and spreading QTPoC content.

Within these themes, participants talked about fighting isolation, amplifying voices, content creation, and more. I argue that instructors of digital rhetoric and communication can take steps toward anti-oppressive classroom design by centering QTPoC needs in terms of undertaking and assigning platform analysis, centering queered digital spaces, teaching moderation, and remixing common platform features to fit our classrooms' needs.


Copyright Owner

Lauren Ashley Malone



File Format


File Size

143 pages