In 1973 Richard Serra and Carlota Fay Schoolman, writing about another ostensibly free technology, broadcast television, made the point that, “It is the consumer who is consumed. You are the product of t.v.” In a market economy, if we’re not paying to use a service then someone else is paying the service for access to us. Dating apps have been designed so that the more we engage with them – the more data we give to them – the more we turn ourselves into their product (for sale to other tech companies, and also to each other, via premium service tiers). It’s certainly a dispiriting thought, but one tempered by the stories of joy and intimate connection that I heard while making the film.
Filmmaker: Interestingly, out of all your searchers the young gender-nonconforming participant, and also the young cisgender woman and her friend looking for sugar daddies, appeared most satisfied with their dating encounters. Perhaps because they are freed from having to explain themselves, of judgment. (The former seemed downright liberated, maybe the ability to filter allowing for a semblance of protection; while the latter don’t have to pretend to be looking for anything other than an online shopping-like business transaction, for which the internet is the perfect conduit.) Did you find that online connection is just better suited to some segments of the population more than others?
In Fresh, a young woman, Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones), is plagued by the horrors of online dating
Velez: The thing that really connects the two interviewees you mention (Caroline and little_sailor) is that they’re young, 23 and 20. I teach college students at The New School, and they have told me that they would find it “weird” and “uncomfortable” for a stranger in a bar to ask for their phone number. Continue reading article