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Disclosure, Ambiguity and Risk Reduction in Real-Time Dating Sites

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Association for Computing Machinery


While social network capabilities are proliferating on many online services, research has focused on just a few popular social network sites. In this note, we consider a different kind of social network site, explicitly designed to support particular types of risky sexual activity among men who have sex with men (MSM). We consider the role of ambiguity built into the interface in how users manage self-disclosure and its association with articulating more friends-only or sexual connections on the site. Despite the site's explicit orientation toward risky sexual practices, we find indications that users mitigate potential public health issues through the practice of sero-sorting. We discuss how design considerations that may allow for easier entrance into a community can cause problems for long-term users, or generate potential public health issues.


Handel, Mark J.; Shklovski, Irina (2012): Disclosure, Ambiguity and Risk Reduction in Real-Time Dating Sites. Proceedings of the 2012 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work. DOI: 10.1145/2389176.2389203. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 175–178. Sanibel Island, Florida, USA