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To sort, to match and to share: addressivity in online dating platforms

Rosamond, Emily. 2017. To sort, to match and to share: addressivity in online dating platforms. Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, 10(3), pp. 32-42. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper analyses addressivity in online dating platforms, with OkCupid as its focus. Drawing from Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of addressivity, I argue the need for a generic account of online dating – one that focuses on the particular kinds of address that typify expressive scenarios on its platforms. Rather than focusing solely on how users address themselves to other users, I instead examine several layers of addressivity within the online dating scenario: (1) users addressing other users, (2) users addressing platforms, (3) platforms addressing publics, and (4) companies addressing investors, and (5) investors addressing users. I argue that within surveillance capitalism generally, and within online dating platforms in particular, there is an imbalance of addressivity: though online users are broadly aware that their data may be collected and analysed, they are nonetheless unconscious of and/or uncomfortable with this form of sharing, because it does not easily fit into previously known narratives of dating. In other words, the automatic gathering and analysis of data by OkCupid is a background condition of all its users’ activity – but this is not sufficiently accounted for in users’ generic understandings of online dating. OkCupid cofounder Christian Rudder’s continual efforts to make online dating data analytics both understandable and palatable for users (via OkCupid’s promotional material, TED-Ed talks, a blog, and a book on data) aims, in part, to address this imbalance. These stagings of the platform’s address to its users aim to garner interest in, and acceptance of, becoming part of aggregated, privatized data sets – and indeed, coming to be witnessed and assetized by the automated gaze of data analytics.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1080/20004214.2017.1400864

Keywords:

online dating; big data; addressivity; Bakhtin; surveillance; surveillance capitalism; platform capitalism; financialization; assetization

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures

Dates:

DateEvent
25 October 2017Accepted
22 December 2017Published

Item ID:

22460

Date Deposited:

28 Nov 2017 12:06

Last Modified:

29 Nov 2018 10:54

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/22460

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