The mediation of homosexual guys’s life: an evaluation on homosexual dating application studies

A body that is growing of centers on homosexual males’s utilization of mobile relationship applications or “dating apps. ” Operating on smartphones and dealing with GPS, dating apps connect users to other people in close proximity that is geographic frequently in realtime. These apps enable users to produce pages to provide by themselves and communicate with each other to attain numerous objectives, such as for instance casual intercourse, dating, or networking. Going to to your characteristics between interaction technologies and culture, this short article product reviews homosexual dating application studies that highlight the communicative methods and social relations mediated by dating apps. With the mediation framework being a point that is starting we examine major themes during these studies, including homosexual males’s online self?presentation and interactions, homosexual community into the electronic age, and homosexual guys’s social relationships. We claim that future research should spend more awareness of the technical growth of dating products and also the change of homosexual men’s social relations.


The past few years have observed a rise in homosexual males’s usage of mobile dating applications or “dating apps. ” Operating on smartphones and dealing with GPS, dating apps connect users to other people in close geographic proximity and frequently in realtime. These apps enable users to generate pages to provide on their own and connect to each other to attain numerous objectives, such as for instance casual intercourse, dating, or networking. Unlike conventional online dating sites, dating apps appear to lower the time so you can get a match; unlike Facebook, dating apps bring strangers together. The world that is academic expressed curiosity about the increasing prevalence of dating apps. Dating apps designed for homosexual males, or even more broadly, males that have intercourse with males (MSM), such as for instance Grindr, Scruff, and Jack’d, have grown to be an item of research for social technology scientists. To examine these apps and their uses, scientists have actually used distinct approaches. Consequently, literature on homosexual relationship apps is created in numerous procedures, particularly, psychology and sociology, plus in various areas, such as for example interaction studies, sex studies, and HIV avoidance studies. Particularly centered on the characteristics between interaction technologies and culture, this short article ratings studies that highlight communicative techniques and social relations mediated by dating apps, instead of the correlation between dating app use and intimate risk methods that concerns HIV prevention researchers. However, even in your narrowed scope, these studies draw on different theories, that makes it hard to inform a story that is coherent. There was a research that is relatively clear marked by self?presentation and discussion frameworks. This strand—to which researchers from Northwestern University in the usa (NU social networking Lab) has added greatly—focuses on what users promote themselves on the pages and connect to one another through personal talk (Birnholtz, Fitzpatrick, Handel, & Brubaker, 2014; Blackwell, Birnholtz, & Abbott, 2015; Chan, 2016; Fitzpatrick & Birnholtz, 2016; Licoppe, Riviere, & Morel, 2015 ). With the exception of this strand, nonetheless, other literatures on gay relationship apps try not to form a dialogue that is direct.

Offered the novelty with this industry therefore the present not enough a synopsis, in this paper, we offer a thematic summary of homosexual app that is dating. To critically evaluate current literary works, we make use of the mediation framework proposed by Lievrouw ( 2014 ). This framework assists in understanding how technologies that are communication culture mutually contour each other. Lievrouw frames communication technologies as infrastructures. She contends why these infrastructures include three elements, particularly, (a) items, products or things with particular technological and material features, utilized by visitors to keep in touch with one another; (2) techniques, exactly just how individuals take part in interaction with products; and (3) social plans, social relations, organizations, and structures that do not only arrange and govern but also form and develop around interaction technologies and methods. These three elements come in a state that is constant of. She identifies three matching modes of modification, that are respectively called reconfiguration of items, remediation of techniques, and reformation of social plans. The “ongoing, articulated, and relationship that is mutually determining the three aspects of interaction technology infrastructure and their three matching procedures or modes of modification” (Lievrouw, 2014, p. 45) is grasped as mediation.

By borrowing out of this mediation framework, we glance at just just exactly how dating app research reports have enriched our familiarity with the powerful interactions and articulations among items, techniques, and arrangements that are social. When it comes to gay relationship apps, we come across dating apps as technical items artifacts that are representing. The ways gay males utilize dating apps can be explained as methods, and lastly, the social relations among homosexual males may very well be social plans. In this review, we categorize the literary works by examining the elements and operations scientists have actually emphasized. For example, us abundant detail about users’ practices that are shaped by the technological attributes of devices as we mentioned earlier, researchers of the NU Social Media Lab explore self?presentation and interaction on gay dating apps, and this focus gives. Nevertheless, it really is noteworthy that some studies examine numerous elements and operations ( e.g., Race, 2015a ).

In Figure 1, we offer a summary of just exactly how homosexual dating application studies squeeze into Lievrouw’s mediation framework. This figure acts to format the remaining of the review. For instance, into the very first area, we zoom in in the micro standard of individuals methods. We have a look at studies sexactly howcasing exactly how homosexual guys’s usage of dating apps is afforded by strategy and design options that come with the dating devices under current but changing arrangements that are social. These studies display numerous objectives of gay relationship software users, a number of that are also maybe maybe not meant by dating designers that are appShield, 2017 ), plus the means users promote themselves in pages and communicate with other people through personal talk to attain specific objectives (Birnholtz et al., 2014; Blackwell et al., 2015; Fitzpatrick & Birnholtz, 2016 ). In Figure 1, this focus are located in the part thought as remediation and highlights the practices of gay relationship software users. Into the section that is second of review, we zoom off to explore a macro landscape of current social plans, and exactly how these plans react to dating apps and homosexual males’s online dating sites practices. We identify the debate on homosexual communities when you look at the era that is digitalDavis, Flowers, Lorimer, Oakland, & Frankis, 2016 ) and brand brand brand new types of social connection afforded by dating apps (Race, 2015a, 2015b ) as two major themes concerning scientists. In Figure 1, this focus is seen into the section understood to be reformation and is targeted on the social plans between homosexual males. Finally, when you look at the conversation, we make a few ideas for future research. These tips consist of centering on the naissance and evolvement of gay dating apps and looking at this is of intercourse and emergence of brand new social relations. In Figure 1, its clear that a focus is lacking reconfiguration that is regarding a have a look at gay relationship apps as items.


Many homosexual dating app researchers have an interest in how dating apps, playing from the current social norms within specific social contexts, form homosexual guys’s online dating sites practices. They examine exactly just exactly exactly how individuals really use dating apps and what the technology affords. In this area, we start out with a synopsis associated with the numerous incentives for homosexual guys to utilize dating apps then explore users’ self?presentation and relationship on dating apps.

Scientists intentionally situate their study of homosexual males’s methods in a context that is sociotechnical spending careful focus on the technical characteristics of dating apps. Inevitably, evaluations are created in various means. Regarding the one hand, techniques on dating apps are in comparison to those who work in actual life or to a time whenever dating apps had perhaps perhaps perhaps not yet come to exist. Starting up on dating apps, which can be distinct from cruising in a real area, provides homosexual guys with greater control in releasing or gathering information, such as for instance HIV status (Race, 2015a ).

The understanding of these technical attributes does not start from scratch, and the design and functionalities of dating apps are often compared to those of online gay venues accessed with computers, including chat rooms or dating sites on the other hand. Studies therefore highlight the brand new affordances of dating apps. For example, conventional internet dating sites are thought to concentrate on fulfilling people in a general area and may include months or months of online communication before a night out together, although the “location?based real?time dating applications” facilitate regional, instant social or intimate encounters (Blackwell et al., 2015 ). Blackwell et al. ( 2015 ) framework Grindr, one of the more popular dating that is gay, as a “co?situation technology” that creates “context collapse” by bringing users with various motives from various social teams into an individual online environment in many ways that transcend geographical boundaries. Considering that the contexts which help people discern what comprises normative behavior collapse on dating apps, users depend greatly on self?presentation and conversation to communicate their identities and intentions. Thus, self?presentation and conversation are a couple of primary components of the remediation of homosexual guys’s online dating sites practices. Next, we provide a synopsis of findings about interaction and self?presentation.

2.1 Self?presentation in profiles

Gay dating app users experience tension. From the one hand, they try to self?disclose with techniques that bring about a perception that is positive other users. Having said that, they just do not like to reveal an excessive amount of information that is identifying. Users develop a group of techniques to signal their motives and work out themselves attractive. In digital room on dating apps where recognition cues are restricted, users find their very own method to reinsert recognition information to get attraction that is social. As an example, Grindr shows just distance information for nearby users and erases location details. Hence, inside their pages, some users input the title of socially defined areas which they identify with, such as for example communities, town names, or organizations. They associate on their own with your landmarks to socially make themselves more appealing (Birnholtz et al., 2014 ).