1. Dating and hooking up with mobile media:
A comparative study of Tinder, Mixxxer,
Squirt and Dattch
Jean Burgess - @jeanburgess
Stefanie Duguay - @dugstef
Ben Light - @doggyb
2. …we show that gays, lesbians, and middle-aged heterosexuals—
three groups who inhabit thin markets for romantic partners—are
particularly likely to ﬁnd their partners online.
….We propose that for single adults in thin dating markets,
improvements in the efﬁciency of Internet search may be
especially useful and important. Conversely, single people (e.g.,
college students) who are fortunate enough to inhabit an
environment full of eligible potential partners may not need to
actively search for partners.
(Rosenfeld and Thomas 2012: 524)
3. The ﬁnal computation of the subject’s S.Q.
is made by automatic machines, chieﬂy
through the means of electronic
calculators —the so-called electronic brain
— and punched index cards. The rating is
automatically printed on each card in
When the ﬁnal S.Q. has been noted on the
card, it becomes a comparatively routine
matter for the psychologist in charge to
“match” the male and female cards of the
The answer will not be simply
“compatible” or “noncompatible” but the
machine rather will answer in
percentages. Thus the electronic brain may
say: 90 per cent. Translated, this means that
the marriage will be in all likelihood, 90 per
cent satisfactory. The next two candidates
may rate only 73 per cent, and so forth.
- early 1990s
Gaydar - 1999
(Light 2007, M
Internet Relay Chat - 1988
Usenet - 1983
(Brubaker et. al. 2014)
From type to swipe...
5. Attempting to conﬁgure the user
• Designers are argued to ‘inscribe’ their visions of the future ‘world’ into
a given set of arrangements (Woolgar 1991).
• Akrich (1992) enrolls the metaphor of a ﬁlm as such arrangements are
characterized as putting forward a script which brings with it a
preferred reading (the designers reading) for the user.
• Latour (2005) argues for a sociology of associations whereby situations
reveal their make up, and through this articulate a state of aﬀairs.
• Akrich (1992) in rebuﬃng totalizing approaches, suggests matters are
far more interesting if such sociographies are partial.
• Delegation - aﬀording work to non-human actors that other actors
(human or otherwise) would have to do (Latour 1992).
• Law of the excluded middle (Latour 1992).
6. The developments of social networking technologies, in
their many variants, similarly inscribe speciﬁc
understandings of the social world and act to enrol users in
(Light et. al. 2008: 302).
...because of the desire to commodify “the difference” that
is gay, predominantly white men, online and ofﬂine, such
inscriptions become monolithic caricatures that are
obdurate and enrol even those who do not participate in
such arrangements at all or only by proxy.
(Light et. al. 2008: 304)
7. The designers vision
Tinder is the fun way to connect with new and interesting people
around you. Swipe right to like or left to pass. If someone likes you
back, it’s a match!
Hookups. Gay and bi hookups; Find straight or married guys; Real
people, real proﬁles; Cam and chat with horny men; Find your sexual
The Mobile Sex Finder. Looking for casual adult fun?
Find local swingers and sex partners tonight! All from your mobile
With thousands of lesbian & bisexual women joining each week,
Dattch is the most popular social network and dating app to meet
lesbian and bisexual girls. Loved by AfterEllen, Autostraddle, Elle &
Grazia, it’s the female answer to Grindr.
8. Registering / Getting In
"From the outset we decided to check that every Dattch
user is female-identiﬁed. We wanted to screen out fake
accounts and creepy guys asking for threesomes.
Facebook Login was the best way we found to create a
safe and comfortable environment for lesbians."
Yes, we use Facebook to make sure you are matched
with real people who share similar interests and common
friends. Tinder will never post anything to your
9. Registering / Getting In
Why Not An App Store App?
Currently, apps that contain adult material are not allowed in the App Store or the Android Marketplace. Squirt
does not believe in censorship. We are pro-sex, and we celebrate sexuality. Having to oﬀer Squirt with no
nudity in the pictures, or having to police what members put on their proﬁles for simple profanity or the frank talk
about the kinds of sex that we look for is not an experience we want to bring to you.
Web technology has nearly everything to oﬀer smart phone users that can already be enjoyed by app users.
We thought: why not use all of these tools for you AND bring you the juicy pics and hot talk that you expect
on Squirt? This is why Squirt Mobile works through your phone’s browser, and not through an app.
We hope that the powers that be change their policy in the future. If this happens we would be happy to build an
app, but for now we will continue to use your mobile web browser to bring you the same hot, uncensored Squirt
that you are used to.
10. Registering / Getting In
Why isn’t Mixxxer in iTunes or the Android Marketplace?
Apple and Android have strict rules that their apps must abide by. By
avoiding their rules, we are able to oﬀer our members a true “Adults Only”
experience, such as the posting of sexually explicit material. Our users
have much more freedom inside our web app versus the apps found in
iTunes and Android.
Not only is their more freedom for “naughty” acts, since our app is really a
website, Mixxxer does burdens your mobile device with little storage
and processing requirements.
16. Conclusions and
• Delegation of matchmaking
• Continuity - proﬁle, chat, friends, interests, regulation, sexual
• Discontinuity - swipe, enhanced mobility, GPS, acceptability
• Appropriation and resistance
• App Stores v HTML5 sites
• Politics of the ‘real name web’
• App studies methods
• Business models
• Geolocative technologies and physical space of dating
• How do people leave a dating platform?
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