Disclosure, Ambiguity and Risk Reduction in Real-Time Dating Sites

Mark Handel, Irina Shklovski

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


While social network capabilities are proliferating on many online services, research has focused on just a few popular social network sites. In this note, we consider a different kind of social network site, explicitly designed to support particular types of risky sexual activity among men who have sex with men (MSM). We consider the role of ambiguity built into the interface in how users manage self-disclosure and its association with articulating more friends- only or sexual connections on the site. Despite the site’s explicit orientation toward risky sexual practices, we find indications that users mitigate potential public health issues through the practice of sero-sorting. We discuss how design considerations that may allow for easier entrance into a community can cause problems for long- term users, or generate potential public health issues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGROUP '12 Proceedings of the 17th ACM international conference on Supporting group work
Number of pages4
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2012
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-1486-2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • social networks
  • public health
  • interfaces
  • exponential random graph models
  • ERGM


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