Identity, identification and identifiability: The language of self-presentation on a location-based mobile dating app

Jeremy P Birnholtz*, Colin Fitzpatrick, Mark Handel, Jed R. Brubaker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

Location-aware mobile applications have become extremely common, with a recent wave of mobile dating applications that provide relatively sparse profiles to connect nearby individuals who may not know each other for immediate social or sexual encounters. These applications have become particularly popular among men who have sex with men (MSM) and raise a range of questions about self-presentation, visibility to others, and impression formation, as traditional geographic boundaries and social circles are crossed. In this paper we address two key questions around how people manage potentially stigmatized identities in using these apps and what types of information they use to self-present in the absence of a detailed profile or rich social cues. To do so, we draw on profile data observed in twelve locations on Grindr, a location-aware social application for MSM. Results suggest clear use of language to manage stigma associated with casual sex, and that users draw regularly on location information and other descriptive language to present concisely to others nearby.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMobileHCI 2014 - Proceedings of the 16th ACM International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages3-12
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450327718
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Event16th ACM International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, MobileHCI 2014 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: Sep 23 2014Sep 26 2014

Other

Other16th ACM International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, MobileHCI 2014
CountryCanada
CityToronto
Period9/23/149/26/14

Keywords

  • Impression formation
  • MSM
  • Online dating
  • Self-presentation
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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