, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 347-365
Date: 14 Jan 2012

There’s an App for that: The Uses and Gratifications of Online Social Networks for Gay Men

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Abstract

This essay is an exploratory study of the uses and gratifications of social networking applications and sites widely utilized by gay men. Based on findings from six different focus groups and intercept interviews with gay and bisexual men, this essay explores the motivations and perceived benefits of social networking sites that allow for the creation of a virtual community of sexual minorities. This paper also considers these technological developments as part of a larger history of gay men communicating with other gay men within a culture where talk about homosexuality is closely policed and often restricted. Through a uses and gratifications approach, this essay discusses the needs and motivations that bring gay men online to social network sites, how they manage multiple identities online and the resulting gratifications of their online activity.