I thought I’d go for a tabloid style headline today in the style of Milo Yiannopoulos from the Telegraph.
On August 5th Milo feels that social networking is all good. “Social networking? A lot of fun.” he says.
This all changes once Milo encounters Grindr an iPhone application aimed at Gay and Bi-sexual men and by August 25th social networking had become creepy and dangerous. Well that’s not entirely true. Gay social networking had become creepy and dangerous, presumably in Milo’s world facebook is still a lot of fun. The homophobic undertones of this are shocking. Thankfully Milo hadn’t bothered to check to see if there were other iPhone applications targeting the same audience or he would have encountered Scruff, Bandana, Maleforce, Recon and Gaydar to name a few. If he’d chosen not to focus on a group because of their sexuality he might even have looked at applications like skout, aloha or WhosHere.
“Gay social networks remain controversial, with many – even, and perhaps especially, gay people” states Milo in the article. Sadly there is no data to back up this comment. I’m not sure who thinks gay social networking is controversial but no-one I have spoken to has ever though of it as anything other than a natural evolution of such networks to target increasingly niche markets. If you have social networks targeting pet owners surely networks targeting sexual preferences isn’t such a leap? Plus lets not forget that social networks don’t replace real life. They are an extension to it helping people make new friends, stay in touch with existing friends and manage long distance relationships.
It’s also quite disturbing how much personal comment is presented in what is meant to be a technology article on The Telegraph. I could understand to some extent if this piece was comment. It’s not though is it? It’s presented as a technology article so I was expecting some information on number of users or some graphs about increase of usage. Maybe from the smart phone angle and how they are changing social networks by including location information? Nope none of that though, it’s purely a piece written in the style of some of the worst tabloids. Maybe Milo has missed his calling? The News of the World are always looking for sensationalist ‘journalists’. That other tabloid journalistic mainstay of an undisclosed source, a friend/pal, a person close to the subject is rolled out with “According to one iPhone owner, who preferred to remain anonymous”.
I have to say though that we are lucky to live in a world now where it’s not often you read an article which includes the phrase “lonely and single middle-aged homosexuals” – of course it would have been better to have included other cliches such as sad and self-loathing.
Oh and one other point Milo. If you have to trawl back to 2000 and go to a US federal agency to find anyone else to back up your stance on how awful a UK based website is you are probably not up to date. Oh wait you didn’t do that though probably you went to Wikipedia I’ll guess and even they have asked for citation of this as the CDC website doesn’t have any mention of this research.
Also it’s worth pointing out that hese days many charities use social networks to reach the gay and bi-sexual audience and promote awareness of everything from HIV and AIDS to homophobia and cyber bullying.