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Going offline: An exploratory cultural artifact analysis of an internet dating site’s development trajectories

By G Fletcher and BA Light


In this study we develop a theorization of an Internet dating site as a cultural artifact. The site, Gaydar, is targeted at gay men. We argue that contemporary received representations of their sexuality figure heavily in the site’s focus by providing a cultural logic for the apparent ad hoc development trajectories of its varied commercial and non-commercial services. More specifically, we suggest that the growing sets of services related to the website are heavily enmeshed within current social practices and meanings. These practices and meanings are, in turn, shaped by the interactions and preferences of a variety of diverse groups involved in what is routinely seen within the mainstream literature as a singularly specific sexuality and cultural project. Thus, we attend to two areas – the influence of the various social engagements associated with Gaydar together with the further extension of its trajectory 'beyond the web'. Through the case of Gaydar, we contribute a study that recognizes the need for attention to sexuality in information systems research and one which illustrates sexuality as a pivotal aspect of culture. We also draw from anthropology to theorize ICTs as cultural artifacts and provide insights into the contemporary phenomena of ICT enabled social networking

Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2007
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