Completed Project

1. The rise of Blued, the Chinese world gay dating app

Blued, a Beijing-based gay dating app, is now the world’s largest dating app for gay men. In this project, Weishan Miao and I examine the production and use of Blued. Our main research methods are ethnography, interviews, and archival research. Two papers have been published from this project. A third one is coming out.

  • Miao, W., & Chan, L. S. (corresponding author) (2020). Between sexuality and professionalism: Experiences of gay workers at Blued, a Chinese gay social app company. New Media & Society. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444820920876
  • Miao, W., & Chan, L. S. (corresponding author) (2020). Social constructivist account of the world’s largest gay social app: Case study of Blued in China. The Information Society, 36(4), 214–222. https://doi.org/10.1080/01972243.2020.1762271

2. US gay men’s use of dating apps

Before I commenced my PhD dissertation research in China, I was intrigued by the popularity of Grindr and many similar dating apps for gay men in the United States. I suggest the transition from industrial society to network society inevitably cultivates a new form of intimacy—the networked intimacy. Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman call the project of the self in the network society the “networked individualism.” The networked individuals rely heavily on their diverse social networks and make use of information technologies to manage these multiple relationships. In this light, networked intimacy can be conceptualized as an emerging form of intimate relationships that is enabled by the increased access to the Internet and the prevalence of mobile phones. In this project, I examined sex-seeking behaviors (surveys), self-representation (content analysis), as well as the nature of intimacy (in-depth interviews supplemented by surveys) on gay dating apps.

Published articles from this project:

  • Chan, L. S. (2018). Ambivalence in networked intimacy: Observations from gay men using mobile dating apps. New Media and Society, 20(7), 2566–2581. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444817727156
  • Chan, L. S. (2017). The role of gay identity confusion and outness in sex-seeking on mobile dating apps among men who have sex with men. Journal of Homosexuality, 64(5), 622–637. https://doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2016.1196990
  • Chan, L. S. (2016). How sociocultural context matters in self-presentation: A comparison of U.S. and Chinese profiles on Jack’d, a mobile dating app for men who have sex with men. International Journal of Communication, 10, 6040–6059. Retrieved from https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/5829