Seeing and being seen: Co-situation and impression formation using Grindr, a location-aware gay dating app

Courtney Blackwell, Jeremy Birnholtz*, Charles Abbott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

140 Scopus citations

Abstract

While online spaces and communities were once seen to transcend geography, the ubiquity of location-aware mobile devices means that today’s online interactions are deeply intertwined with offline places and relationships. Systems such as online dating applications for meeting nearby others provide novel social opportunities, but can also complicate interaction by aggregating or “co-situating” diverse sets of individuals. Often this aggregation occurs across traditional spatial or community boundaries that serve as cues for self-presentation and impression formation. This paper explores these issues through an interview study of Grindr users. Grindr is a location-aware real-time dating application for men who have sex with men. We argue that co-situation affects how and whether Grindr users and their behavior are visible to others, collapses or erases contextual cues about normative behavior, and introduces tensions in users’ self-presentation in terms of their identifiability and the cues their profile contains relative to their behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1136
Number of pages20
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume17
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 21 2015

Keywords

  • Computer-mediated communication
  • gay
  • location
  • online dating
  • self-presentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Seeing and being seen: Co-situation and impression formation using Grindr, a location-aware gay dating app'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this