Uncertain Intimacies: App-based friendship among women
In the last few years, a new social phenomenon has been the making of friends through friendship apps. This is largely unexplored in research, with the potential to change the ways friendships are understood and formed. Women's experience of using friendship apps is explored by critically investigating Gidden's (1991) concept of the growth of pure relationships in late modernity, where relationships become free from external social structures. With the purpose of understanding how technological and social structures relate to friendship making today. The largest friendship app in Sweden GoFrendly which is only available for women was selected as a case to study. The material consists of 12 interviews with women who have experience using the app. By applying theories of pure relationships, algorithmic friendship, and platonic love, making friends through apps is understood as a process of emotional and practical friendship work. This includes being reflexive while navigating different uncertainties. By engaging in friend dating and self-disclosure to build intimacy a proliferation of pure relationships appears possible for women through friendship apps. However, the process also points to several forms of impurity, where gendered friendships increase and technology aids in creating artificial environments of homophily. In this way app friendships are anchored in several social structures rather than being free floating, and women mainly befriend those similar to themselves.