Lived Experiences

In researching platforms, which have become deeply embedded in our everyday lives, we are drawn to technofeminist methodologies because they seek to restructure our social realities while accounting for the researcher’s experience with and position within the topic. Kristine Blair (2012) has noted technofeminist methodology “intertwines the personal and the political, situating technological literacy in a range of familial, educational, and professional contexts that have often marginalized women’s voices” (p. 64). This feminist triangulation is done with “empowerment in mind” in ways that incorporate the subjectivity of the researcher, because technofeminist researchers “are often personally and politically connected to the groups they study” (Blair, p. 67). Therefore, the researcher’s story becomes crucial to the transparency of methodologies and methods as they draw on their insider/outsider knowledges relevant to the communities of study. As situated researchers, we are each personally and politically connected to the variety of topics and communities we discuss throughout this webtext. Therefore, we feel it necessary to use this section to share brief snapshots of our lives that illustrate how.

Individual stories, whether they are participants’ stories or our own, are a necessary part of technofeminist inquiry into platform rhetorics because emphasizing narratives of lived experience helps us to reconstruct our understanding of the world to include diverse ways of meaning and knowledge making (Hemmings, 2011; hooks, 1984; Rhodes, 2005; Rich, 1995), which are unfortunately too often undervalued by mainstream and academic epistemologies. Blair (2012) argued that emphasizing narratives of lived experience is “a potentially powerful form of technofeminist, activist research” (p. 68), because women’s stories, in particular, are so woefully undervalued in many arenas. Both Bridget and Dustin have had to confront their insider/outsider knowledges, positionalities, privileges, and personal histories in writing this piece. And although we could write exhaustively about those knowledges, positions, and histories, we each offer a representative story here. It’s our hope that the reader see these stories as a method, of sorts, for confronting how it is our researcher identities are inextricable from our personal ones.