Love is in the Web??
What does social media have to say about love?
The relationship between love and the internet is a topic of interest for people of all ages, regions and political fields. A 2011 survey by Millward Brown found that around 65% of Brazilians have used relationship websites to look for an “ideal partner”. SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION, MEDIA AND INFORMATION AT FGV. Since then, the experience of love on the web has acquired new layers, mostly related to the platformization of life and of human experience, including love and sex. It is no coincidence that Brazil is the second market in the world for relationship apps, losing only to the United States, according to a 2021 survey by the Pew Research Center. Even with variations based on religion, age, political spectrum, sexuality and life experiences, love continues to overcome differences within and without social media platforms. Those were the findings of the study Love is in the Web by the School of Communication at FGV. Focused on monitoring affective behavior in several platforms, the investigation was divided into three parts. The first part established how topics related to dating, flirting and seduction are used by different social and political groups, the second part observed reactions to using relationship apps, and the third part performed a qualitative analysis of the different expressions of relationships and flirting in the digital environment. The study found that:
? Discussions about the possibility of establishing a relationship between politically divergent people have mobilized thousands of people on Twitter; ? However, most users on the platform talk about love, sex, flirting and relationship apps with no regard for political issues; ? The humor found in memes and jokes is able to burst ideological bubbles, creating spaces for dialogue with less hate between different people; ? On Twitter, conversations about Tinder and Grindr include funny stories, alerts about financial scams, and erotic stories; ? Regarding Tinder, there is a high frequency of frustrated or funny stories while using the app; in turn, the discussion about Grindr tends to be more directly related to sex; ? On Facebook and Instagram, love is expressed in several ways. Around seven behavioral patterns were found that range from Christianity, diversity, long-distance relationships, jealousy, financial counseling, relationship length, and gender roles.
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Usually associated with political discussions, Twitter gains a new face when analyzed without filters, based only on its non-thematic retweets. Political groups emerge as niches and interact with other groups whose main topics are gossip, memes and relationships. Although it is an important stage for political debates and a source of information, Twitter is also full of love!
- Groups formed by young people and focused on memes, relationships and celebrity gossip have a higher number of profiles on Twitter compared to national obsessions such as soccer and politics.
- Profiles in the entertainment and celebrities group dominate mentions to apps, with almost 55% of users. The left wing comes second, with 14%.
- Among the groups mentioning relationship apps, around 10% are distributed among groups discussing soccer, memes and right-wing politics. The topic is present, at a higher or lower intensity, in all major fields of the digital public debate in Brazil.