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Virtual communities and translation into physical reality in the 'It Gets Better' project

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This article explores the founding of the YouTube-based 'It Gets Better' project as an online community and the project's influence in effecting real-world change. The It Gets Better project is a YouTube-based initiative that seeks to offer support for troubled LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer) youth who may be contemplating suicide. It was created by American columnist Dan Savage and his partner Terry following a number of youth suicides that had resulted from bullying in 2010. The article situates the virtual initiative within the traditional definitions of community, and individual engagement is investigated by way of online and real-world ramifications. Finally the project's aim is problematized through analysis of the aesthetics, structure and reception of, and social discourse surrounding, the original video posting.

Keywords: Dan Savage; It Gets Better; LGBTQ; bullying; online community; virtual engagement

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jmpr.12.3.269_1

Affiliations: University of Amsterdam

Publication date: February 16, 2012

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  • The Journal of Media Practice is a peer-reviewed publication addressing practical work in media teaching and research. To this end, the editorial board and consultative panels comprise prominent academics and practitioners from a range of disciplines committed to the achievement of academic and professional ends through means centred on practical work.
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