Tinder Communication In The Time of COVID-19
Sammanfattning: This study researches communication 2020-2021 via the Tinder dating app in Sweden during the COVID-19 pandemic, using a framework of mediatization, uses and gratification theory and affordance theory. Data collection was performed using qualitative interviews via Zoom video calls with respondents based in Sweden and findings were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results of the study discusses phenomena when the physical world and a mediatized one interlock: even though the Tinder app afforded people to connect during the COVID-19 pandemic, the worlds are not independent of each other. Uncertainty and stress could seep into the dating app practice and create a hindrance to easy communication, even though the Tinder app was trying to accommodate the changing times. The study explores that the dehumanizing aspect of reducing a person to a single attribute and deleting that person is connected to a heightened affordance of gamification of relationships that is connected to deep mediatization, moments of our everyday practices immersed in new kinds of mediated communication. Steered behaviour from the app occurs in the Tinder interface which this paper explores, connected to data-driven decision making, a critical tool allowing mobile app developers to not only figure out customer behaviour but also to design customised products. Connected here is the mediatized interplay between humans and technology. If the Tinder app was hard to set up or navigate, the different needs and gratifications would not be met and users would simply vanish. This paper argues the Tinder app design encourages speed and has coded distractions to actually work against the perceived gratification of meeting a partner and ultimately rendering the service redundant. The COVID-19 pandemic, this thesis explores, has spurred different generations to adapt to new practices and technologies but that these affordances do not always correlate to new dating app practices such as video dating. A mediatized way of meeting physically has been brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. An additional step has been added to online dating practices, the walk, which has 2 lowered the threshold of the initial date by being perceived as an easier option. A direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic connected to online dating. This paper also argues intimacy through media sharing, such as humour and jokes via technology in a mediatized world. Lastly, this paper explores the safety aspects of the Tinder app, connected to catfishing and also gender blindness.
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