Carnal Constructions in Online Dating Communities
Collette Caton, Syracuse University

Intro video, but had to stop since the noise was playing next door. Talked about why graduate students would use the site.

Romance, Religion, and the Writing of Identity in Online Dating
T J Geiger, Syracuse University

Flattens faith along with other identity categories.

OkCupid’s (OkC)taxonomy of religion is influence by the enlightenment and western history of religion
Critiques the range and order of religions and how the user’s can state how serious they are about their religion (including laughing about it)—ends up flattening te “tremendous social diversity” an “richly textured religious lives” of the users.

Some questions to consider:

  • What world views are embodies or exclude by site design?
  • What general rules govern interaction?

The Functions of Searching: How Search Functions in Virtual Dating Construct Hierarchies, Normalcy, and Otherness
Missy Watson, Syracuse University

Examines Search engine of OkC.

retitled: “The functions of searching: invention, agency, ethics in virtual dating match searches”

Invention in multimedia: ongoing experience that users can create through selections of users—a user authored experience (Brooke). Is OkC an example of a proairetic invention? Did an rhetorical analysis drawing on Brooke and Latuor.


  • OkC advertises as being a user designed and text content creators.
  • Highly adjustable search based on a variety of factors including religion drug use, eduction, sex, location, age… Can also choose how matches are ordered.
  • Users author own navigation of user profiles

Searches are a combined and tangled interaction of user, technology and others. Web of agency with three agents:

  • Algorithms
  • User co-agent of search results: answers questions that get placed in algorithm
  • Other users that are potential matches

It is defiantly more proairetic than other search engines on dating sites. But not quite transparent. Since math is not discussed, it is unclear the degree of agency and does impact the user agency to some degree. Since the actual mechanics are not known to user, may get more agency if knew. To what degree does the interface have to show us this?

Something to say?