Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Department of Communication Studies

Title

“Mr Right Now”: Temporality of relationship formation on gay mobile dating apps

Language

English

Abstract

Mobile dating apps with geolocation function have gained popularity for fostering social, romantic, and sexual connections between nearby strangers. Through in-depth interviews and focus-group discussions with 74 users of gay mobile dating apps (Grindr and Jack’d) in Hong Kong, this study illustrates how the sociological concept of time can shed light on users’ experience of relationship formation through these apps. Specifically, the accelerated tempo of interactions facilitated by perpetual connectivity, mutual proximity awareness, and instant messaging was seen to entail instantaneous and ephemeral relationships. The interface design, which foregrounds profile photos and backgrounds textual self-descriptions, was perceived to structure the sequence of browsing and screening in favor of physical appearance and users seeking casual hook-ups. The findings suggest that the temporality of browsing and exchange on apps is incongruous with the temporal norms prescribing formation of friendship and long-term romance. Such incongruity affects the perceived quality and satisfaction of app use, frustrating users who seek more durable relationships.

Keywords

gay men, Grindr, Jack’d, mobile apps, online dating, social media, time

Publication Date

2017

Source Publication Title

Mobile Media & Communication

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Peer Reviewed

1

Funder

This work was supported by the Research Grants Council, University Grants Committee, Hong Kong under General Research Fund (Project Number: 249213) and the Graduate School, Hong Kong Baptist University under Faculty Research Grant (Project Code: FRG1/15-16/006).

DOI

10.1177/2050157917718601

Link to Publisher's Edition

http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2050157917718601

ISSN (print)

20501579

ISSN (electronic)

20501587

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS