Department of Communication Studies
“Mr Right Now”: Temporality of relationship formation on gay mobile dating apps
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.
gay men, Grindr, Jack’d, mobile apps, online dating, social media, time
Source Publication Title
Mobile Media & Communication
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).
Link to Publisher's Edition
Yeo, Tien Ee Dominic, and Tsz Hin Fung. "“Mr Right Now”: Temporality of relationship formation on gay mobile dating apps." Mobile Media & Communication (2017).