The Complexity of Online Dating

I talk about my research on the latest Realities podcast, hosted by Mark Fonseca Rendeiro. The show is called The Complexity of Online Dating, and here’s a summary written by Mark:

RP-White.Monogram-Small-Transparent.BG_1

Impression management; your image on social media; online dating – everywhere you go in your internet life, you’re projecting an image of yourself. Today at the kitchen table, we’re speaking with researcher, writer and communications consultant Janelle Ward about what is going on when it comes to these online selves we’ve created and what impact this has on how our society functions.

Advertisements

“Match me if you can” at Pakhuis de Zwijger

On February 14, 2017, Pakhuis de Zwijger held an event called “Match me if you can.” The event featured a mix of writers, practitioners, and academics, all reflecting on dating app culture.

I spoke about “Making an Impression on Tinder,” with a look at my research and how we can use dating apps to confront our own stereotypes and prejudices. The talk is available on video here (the event was in Dutch, but my talk is in English). My presentation starts at 1:28:00.

WhatsApp Image 2017-02-15 at 00.49.18.jpgphoto credit: Urville Djasim

“The Perfect Tinder Profile” lecture and event

It was a successful event at the Erasmus Pavilion on Monday! Despite the rain there was a great turnout for the lecture, and the participants in the “36 Questions” dating event really seemed to enjoy themselves. For those of you interested, here’s the back story on the 36 Questions for Intimacy:

“What was needed was a method to create closeness in the laboratory with strangers, so people could be randomly assigned to various conditions and other variables could be controlled. As such, the method has been used in hundreds of studies and the field has been able to learn a great deal.”

The questions originally stem from a 1997 study by Aron et al. titled “The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings.”

untitled

Lecture: The Perfect Tinder Profile

On Monday, September 14th starting at 7:30pm, I’ll be speaking at the Erasmus Paviljoen about my Tinder research. Please join! It’s open to the public. So is the top secret dating event afterwards.

Summary below – for more details please visit the website. Sign up can be done here.

Swipe left or swipe right? The dating app Tinder has 50 million global users and 1.5 million users in the Netherlands. Tinder has been praised for revolutionizing the dating game and empowering women. It has also been accused of being a hook-up app, resulting in the breakup of relationships and an increase in sexually transmitted infections. Social media has exploded with Tumbler blogs like Girls of Tinder and Tinder’s Finest Bachelors, where users are simultaneously mocked, shamed and praised for their choice of profile pictures or pickup lines. A Reddit community subgroup is dedicated to helping Tinder users tweak their profiles to increase matches.

RTEmagicC_14_sept_Tinder_2.jpg

Creating the perfect Tinder profile: How do Tinder users make decisions about which photos and text to include on their profiles? Do they fine-tune their profiles based on the response or non-response they get from other users? How does a Tinder profile differ between a user looking for a relationship and one seeking a one-night stand? Janelle Ward will give us an academic perspective on how Tinder users present themselves on the dating app. Drawing on her interviews with users in the Netherlands, she will present insights into profile creation and match selection: What are Tinder users’ motivations for using the app? How do Tinder users choose their profile photos and text? How do Tinder users choose their matches?

If you’re not a Tinder user this lecture is an opportunity to learn all about the hype from an entertaining yet academic perspective. If you are a user, you can see this lecture as a personal Tinder consultation: Janelle will help you understand your own profile choices and why you swipe left or right on other’s profiles (hint: it’s more than just sex appeal).

Is There Something Missing? Self-Presentation Practices on Tinder

Today I presented my ongoing research on self-presentation practices of Tinder users in the Netherlands. The conference was the 12th ICA Mobile Pre-Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Slides are available here and an abstract is below:

The desire to connect with other people for romantic or intimate purposes is an age-old activity. Mobile dating applications have exploded in popularity in recent years. As these applications become mainstream, so does the urgency to re-explore the issue of virtual self-presentation: how men and women present themselves to potential partners.

The matchmaking mobile app Tinder has 50 million global users and 1.5 million users in the Netherlands. The research question asks, what are the self-presentation practices of Tinder users? This paper presents the results of 21 semi-structured interviews with Tinder users in the Netherlands.

Analysis revealed two types of users in terms of impression motivation: the indifferent and the ambitious. For all interviewees, impression construction was a carefully chosen process complete with various “props.” Interviewees used photos and texts to illustrate attractiveness, personality and interests, but also their social class and education level. Especially noteworthy was the mirroring of self-presentation with one’s potential matches, as users overwhelmingly reported searching for people “like them.” This research provides both empirical and theoretical contributions into user experiences and perceptions within a still under-researched area.

First interview findings

Last month I met my goal: I completed 20 interviews with Tinder users. The interviews were with 11 men and 9 women. Interviewees were aged 19-­52, and most had been active Tinder users for about a year.

Though there’s still a lot of work to do on the analysis, last weekend I presented initial results from a paper entitled “All the World’s a Stage: Strategies of Self-Presentation on Tinder” at the Asian Conference on Media & Mass  Communication (MediAsia) in Osaka, Japan. Those slides are available online.

I’ll continue with my analysis in the coming months. Watch here for updates!


cover copy

 

Zwarte Piet and Facebook

Last week I presented a paper at the North American Conference on Media, Film & Cultural Studies. The conference was held in Providence, Rhode Island and hosted by IAFOR. The research I presented looked at two popular Facebook pages related to the Zwarte Piet debate in the Netherlands. The abstract is below, and the slides are available on SlideShare.

Zwarte Piet, literally translated as Black Pete, has created growing controversy for its racist undertones in the Dutch celebration of Sinterklaas. This paper looks at how Facebook users engage with the debate by quantitatively examining two Facebook pages: “Zwarte Piet is Racisme” (Black Piet is Racism, or ZPIR) and the pro-Zwarte Piet page called “Pietitie.” Analysis shows that ZPIR is a page oriented towards longer-term engagement. User engagement on ZPIR is also more intensive compared to Pietitie, which is very much an incident-based page. We argue that in this case, interpersonal discussion is more developed on a page designed to protest an issue, which may promote both civic participation and political activity of its users.

blogimage