The increasing popularity of mobile dating apps in the past decade has transformed the ways in which gay men network with each other. Based on sociology and media studies literature, I contextualize this contemporary form of intimacy, which is known as networked intimacy, in relation to networked individualism and neoliberalism. Using a mixed-methods design with interviews (N = 7) and a survey (N = 245), this study explored how gay men experience intimacy on these platforms. Users reported ambivalence in establishing relationships, which is brought forth by the ambiguity of relationships, dominance of profiles, and over-abundance of connections on these apps. I conclude that these aspects of ambivalence are not at all exclusive to the private domain of gay men but are tightly intertwined with the neoliberal market and consumption practices.
"Ambivalence in networked intimacy: Observations from gay men using mobile dating apps." New Media & Society, 2017.