This article explores the ways in which one facet of our (romantically marketable) selves, gender identity, is both demonstrated and reflexively constructed within the particular textual arena of online dating profiles. Gender identity is a central aspect of the way we present ourselves to others and is particularly important to online dating, given the nature of this as a gendered and mediated activity wherein forms of discourse both address and assume the existence of audiences and their cultural competencies. Given the nature of this communicative context, how is it that users of the Internet and social media are tapping into existing social and cultural resources and putting gender norms to work in their representations of self? How is gendered (promotional) representation tied to consumerism/consumption, and how does this in turn reflect affiliations and identifications of culture, class, place, and age? How does the example of online dating provide insight into this process of self-promotion and self-construction?
Think more women should make the first move? Then you may enjoy Bumble, a dating app where women have to initiate. The functionality is similar to Tinder: you swipe, and if you both swipe right, a match is created. Where Bumble differs is that the woman then has to send the first message - if she doesn't do so within 24 hours, the match expires (in same-sex matches either person can initiate).5
Chemistry.com is the sister site to Match.com. Subscribers take a personality test and are matched with other subscribers based on the results. You must determine whether your personality type is “Explorer,” “Negotiator,” “Builder,” or “Director.” It offers more guided support than Match.com by offering activities for matches to get to know one another.
Some dating sites are now being subsumed under—or are perhaps merely cross-pollinating with—the category of “social networking” sites, where the goal is to make broader social and professional connections rather than to meet romantic partners exclusively (Horning, 2007, p. 71). This transformation is unsurprising given the popularity of sites such as Facebook and MySpace, with their incorporation of multimedia elements (photo albums, blogs, videos) and running “updates” from online friends added to a visible personal network. With online dating, “the trend is to bundle more services into the sites” and to increase site interactivity and “community” with features such as recommendations and ratings from other site members, as well as sound, photos, and videos (Vitzthum, 2007, p. 88; Whitty, 2007a, p. 61). Nerve’s latest incarnation reflects this shift, incorporating the popular feature of status updates.
Sapio is a free dating app with a simple goal: to foster more meaningful conversations than “Hey” and “What’s up?” Start with Sapio’s Question Explorer, which is filled with 300 open-ended questions in 21 categories ranging from “Hopes and Dreams” to “Achievements” and “My Quirks.” Scroll through the topics that matter most to you, and discover answers from people with similar interests. Answer questions to grow your visibility with others who care about the same things, and further refine your search with filters that matter to you. Find your soulmate faster based on their personality, not just their looks.
Sharon Kroll and fiancé Lee Wallender are the Seattle-based writers and dating experts behind The Dating Gurus. Kroll said it’s easy to get lost in the sea of possibilities when online dating so it’s important to limit the number of sites you’re onto to three and make sure you’re not spending all day checking them. It’s also important to make the first message you send count.
Now has a messaging feature, but chats are only visible for two hours if you and another user stop talking. You get four free access keys when you sign up, which increase your chances of meeting new people. If you want more, they're available for purchase. When you buy a Gold Key, you get unlimited access to all of the app's premium features for 60 hours.
It is possible that online dating, and self-advertising for romance in general, could be “a ‘natural’ response to a particular configuration of societally-imposed, modern life circumstances—time-pressured, work-centred, mass-mediated” (Coupland, 1996, p. 190). Brym and Lenton (2001) found that “career and time pressures are increasing, so people are looking for more efficient ways of meeting others for intimate relationships” (p. 3). As a group, online daters were not—in any study—found to be any less socially astute, or indeed less eligible, than non-users; on the contrary, “in Canada, Internet users are younger, better educated, more likely to be employed in the paid labour force, and more likely to earn [a] higher income than Canadians in general” (p. 3). Their reasons for using dating sites include increasing their options and meeting more people with similar interests (Whitty, 2007b); finding partners for long-term relationships or casual sex; convenience (working around difficult schedules or busy lives); and as a more palatable substitute for the “usual” ways of meeting people, such as bars (Whitty & Carr, 2006). However, whether or not online dating, with its promise of expanded “choice” of partners, actually yields more positive results than “traditional” practices is debatable (Wu & Chiou, 2009).
Why it's awesome: Before there were apps on which one could swipe right and left on a dizzying number of potential connections, there was Match. Yes, Match is the mother of all dating sites. Launched back in 1995, its decades in the business help it bring a ton of insight to the table for singles looking for all kinds of connections. And with its more recent push into mobile come a few new features that have helped make the ancient site more relevant, including its very own version of Stories, popularized by Snapchat and, uh ... adopted by everyone else. Match users can shoot little videos of their day or add voiceovers to photos and post them to their profiles for other users to check out. "Match is the family brand," Spira says. "It's the one where someone could see their grandmother on, and someone could see their grandson on. It has the largest critical mass, and they have done a fabulous job of keeping up with the technology."
MocoSpace has been around since before app stores existed. Since 2005, it has been a leading site for meeting new people. They also have Android and iOS apps that are absolutely free. If you’re afraid they’ll try to sell you to a $30/month membership fee, don’t worry. It doesn’t exist. They also have more features than many other dating apps — with chat, instant messaging, and even some games in addition to highly customizable profile pages. The app experience is different from the competition, and users who return for several sessions are rewarded with a community that keeps them coming back for years.