BORED GHOSTS AND ANXIOUS TEXT GAMES: HOW DATING APPS ALGORITHMICALLY CHANNEL THE DESIRE FOR INTIMACY INTO ANXIOUS ENGAGEMENT
Keywords:mobile technology, interactivity, media studies, social media, dating apps
AbstractThis article presents two findings from 50 in-depth interviews of daters using OkCupid, Tinder, and Bumble. The first finding shows that respondents began using dating apps like Tinder and Bumble because they wanted to engage in dialogical exchanges to get to know their matches, something they felt the elaborate essays on OkCupid rendered redundant. The second finding shows that the intimate exchanges they sought on dating apps were hard to find. Instead of intimacy, they encountered anxious text games exacerbated by the widespread practice of ghosting. These findings indicate how the distinct algorithms employed by OkCupid, Tinder, and Bumble cultivate particular feelings, moods, and modes of subjectivity. While OkCupid’s algorithm cultivated entrepreneurs of themselves seeking to optimize their intimate relationships, dating apps cultivate the digital unbored: users compelled to swipe away the angst-inducing boredom of waiting for texts that always may never come. Dating apps render searches for intimacy fraught with anxiety and substantial connections hard to find. But they are well calibrated to the exigencies of platform capitalism, where social relations are as likely to be sold as things, especially when they vanish as quickly as they appear – like ghosts.
How to Cite
narr, gregory. (2021). BORED GHOSTS AND ANXIOUS TEXT GAMES: HOW DATING APPS ALGORITHMICALLY CHANNEL THE DESIRE FOR INTIMACY INTO ANXIOUS ENGAGEMENT. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.11995