This is the story of how Aaron and his partner met and a discussion of the stereotypes of gay men using social mobile applications.
Today’s mobile location apps, which work with a phone’s built-in GPS, connect lovelorn singles who have something more urgent in common: proximity. The gay community was first to recognize the potential for location-based networking. It has become extremely popular for gay men to meet using mobile apps that tap into the smartphone’s location information to show to-the-point profiles of men in a certain radius who are available to meet. Amongst the many apps are Jackd, Scruff and Grindr, which has over 4 million members in 192 countries, Grindr offers the world’s largest all-male, location-based mobile network with 10,000 new men joining the Grindr network daily (Kelly, 2012). According to the founder, Simkhai,”You’re no longer confined to a computer to meet someone virtually – you can do it anywhere and it’s more integrated into your real life.” The users of his app spend an average of nearly an hour and a half logged on and are located all over the world these days. While young men typically described their use of the Internet as beginning with a desire to learn more about sex and sexuality, they also shared how this medium provided a readily available venue to meet other young men for possible sexual relationships (Kunikek, Carpintero, Weiss, Kipe, 2010, 808). Sexuality scholars may wish to further explore the social and political aspects of networks of desire as they appear online. We largely neglect representation, meaning, metaphor, narrative, performance, critical theory and a wide array of other concerns central to cultural analysis (Keilty, 2011)