A new CIF article in The Guardian on Friday 2nd August is entitled How Grindr has transformed users’ experience of intimacy. The author, Senthorun Raj, suggests that Grindr offers the possibilities of organising sex, friendship and relationships with the tap of a screen. But then comes the crunch line “And it’s as anonymous as you want it to be.”
In the currently early days of our post-techno era, behavioural change brought on by our new tools is gradually being researched and documented. Raj talks about the emotional work he puts into his multiple conversations and how he segments them. His use of Grindr, details how in fulfilling the app’s promise of “Right Guy Right Now, Grindr isn’t simply about reaching out to the nearest available Grindrer. No doubt Grindr has transformed the users’ experience of intimacy but perhaps it goes further than that. Grindr and many other similar apps and socialising websites are maybe changing people’s perceptions of intimacy. When identity has to be explicitly communicated in the online environment because of reduced cues, does it matter that we may be sharing intimacies with a multitude of multiple identities? We ourselves may be selective in which identity is doing the sharing.
Whole relationships are experienced within the bandwidth of the world wide web. People meet, become friends, share intimacies and die and eulogies are written, without them ever having shared a physical presence. For some this isn’t virtual, it’s real.