Dating and hook-up apps, digital publics, and the COVID-19 pandemic

Thursday 3rd December (10:00am-11:30am AEDT) – Register

Hosted by Chris Dietzel & Stef Duguay

About this Event

Dating and hook-up apps, digital publics, and the COVID-19 pandemic: Participatory engagement with app materials and affect

Physical distancing measures and governmental stay-at-home guidelines introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted the business of dating and hook-up apps, which sell the promise of intimacy to users. Through this interactive session, attendees will partake in participatory engagement with the app materials we gathered during the first three months of North American quarantine to explore scholarly themes and digital intimacies. From March through May 2020, we collected in-app communications, social media posts, and corporate blog posts from 16 apps targeting heterosexual and queer user markets. Combined with non-participant observation of app updates and new features, these materials encompass a range of prescribed behaviours, technical solutions, and discourses related to COVID-19.

After introducing the project, we will share select app materials with attendees through Zoom break-out rooms. Each small group will be asked to apply lenses of risk, public health, intimacy, digital affordances, etc. and analyse the app materials. Coming back together, the small groups will present their thoughts and then we will present our findings. Session attendees and presenters will engage in a discussion of the data and themes from the data, which will allow everyone to examine the data from different angles.

For the remainder of the session, we will ask attendees to engage as intimate subjects, since some of them have used these apps and all of them have negotiated intimacy during the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, we will provide a space for attendees to explore digital intimacies during the pandemic from scholarly and personal perspectives. We will close with a group discussion about apps and lived experiences, and will summarize the themes explored in the session.

Here is the outline for the 1.5h session:

15 min: Introduction

30 min: Breakout rooms for small groups to analyse the data (i.e., app materials)

20 min: Presentation of small groups’ findings, authors’ findings, and a group discussion about the data

15 min: Breakout rooms for small groups to discuss and explore digital intimacies

10 min: Group discussion about apps and lived experiences, and closing

Please note that this Zoom session will be recorded.

For inquiries about the event, you are welcome to contact Chris at christopher.dietzel@mail.mcgill.ca. To learn more about dating apps and the pandemic, check out the authors’ forthcoming book chapter.

image: People vector created by pikisuperstar – www.freepik.com

Follow @Digitintimacies and #digint20 for updates

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