Author: Lai, Yat Han
Title: A multimodal discourse analysis on Grindr profiles
Advisors: Veloso, Francisco (ENGL)
Degree: M.A.
Year: 2016
Subject: English language -- Discourse analysis.
Online social networks.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of English
Pages: v, 43 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: This multimodal discourse study aims to investigate the meaning-making potentials enabled and constrained by the layout-text-picture combination in the design of Grindr personal profiles and how such meaning-making potentials are utilised by users to constitute meanings. In this sense, the Grindr profiles are co-authored by the design of Grindr and the users. Empirical data, i.e. naturally occurred Grindr profiles was collected to achieve these aims. The 'Genre and Multimodality' (GeM) model (Bateman, 2008; Bateman et al., 2002) was applied to decompose the design of the Grindr profiles and the content of authentic profiles written by Grindr users. The layout and navigation structure particularly suggested that the design of Grindr favour the pictorial information rather than the verbal ones by placing it on the predominant positions in the profile. Among the eleven fields of verbal information, Grindr's design also preferred the fields which contribute to mould one's physical attributes. The users generally responded positively to the emphasis on profile pictures as pictures are among all the verbal and pictorial fields the most provided one with less attention in other verbal fields. Additionally, the deliberate self-imposed production constraints of Grindr might render its profile limited in length and meaning-making potentials. This limited meaning-making potentials were further shrunken by the users by giving limited verbal information. While previous indicated that self-presentation is correlated with one's relational success, i.e. the widely assumed goal of using a virtual dating service (e.g. Ellison et al., 2006a, 2006b), Grindr users adopted a more goal-oriented strategy to directly communicate one's goals in the fields of free-text rather than elaborating on self. It is ironic that the geolocation function of Grindr (and other dating apps), that foundationally differs it from its antecedents, online dating websites, and enables users to connect to others anywhere and anytime, might be one of the factors that causes users to be more concealing in providing self information given one's identity could be publicised to the others in the physical proximity, which is particularly not preferable when one's homosexuality might be stigmatised (e.g. Abbott et al., 2015; Woo, 2013).
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: restricted access

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