Interview: Do We Need Social Networks Just for Gay Men?

Following the closure of DList (the gay MySpace) and the subsequent launch of Ragap (a gay Argentinian alternative to Twitter), I was approached by Tom Avendaño of El Pais (Madrid’s daily newspaper) to comment on whether there’s a need to have social networks specifically designed for gay men. You can read the Spanish article here, and right below you can read the entire unedited interview in English.
Is it fair to say that gays invented social networks? Were hook-up sites like Gaydar the basis for current mainstream social networks?

I wouldn’t say gays created social networks. I think every niche group and minority has the need to meet like-minded individuals. For Facebook it started with college students. Gay men did make a great community out of the early AOL M4M chatrooms that eventually evolved into the full-blown media company, PlanetOut (once owner of The Advocate and Gay.com).

Argentina has just created a Twitter for gays. Thoughts?

There already is a Twitter for gays. It’s called Twitter. What’s great about social networks is that you can find your village and make it as small or big as possible. I don’t see the sense to segregate our communities to other more specific networks, unless you are still closeted.

What is it about social networks that attracts the gay community?

Beyond the need to get laid with sites like Manhunt and Grindr, gay men are immediately attracted to new online social networks like Instagram out of need to connect with other gay men. Not everyone lives in San Francisco or Madrid. And for the eye candy, of course.

Why do you think the heterosexual demographic never embraced social networking?

The heterosexual community has embraced social networking and oftentimes for similar reasons. There are plenty of scandalously-clad straight girls on Twitter and insecure, self-deprecating straight guys on Tumblr.

What are the main social networks for gays now that DList’s shutdown?

The best gay-specific social network out there right now is GayCities.com. You can find gay hotspots in over 200 cities all over the world and the locals who frequent them. It’s great for jet-setters looking for that insider experience. I like it because It’s a very useful service. Even though gays have hit the mainstream with Facebook and Twitter there are still experiences and events that are catered specifically to gays and lesbians. And without them, how vibrant would gay life be? Like watching the Superbowl without Madonna at half-time. I have also been playing with Thingbox out of the UK, it’s probably the closest to DList but with a better design and way more user-friendly.

What have been the main social networks for gays throughout history?

Throughout the decades, younger gays have adopted new networks of their own. From Manhunt to Grindr, from Gay.com to GayCities.com, from Facebook to Path, from Tumblr to Instagram. I definitely see a big shift towards mobile apps.

BOY TOYS TALK BACK: Are you conducting research or writing an article about technology, social media and the gay community? Get in touch with me. I give good sound bites.

Oscar Raymundo
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Comments (14):

  • interesting read… thanks =)

  • interesting read… thanks =)

  • Fab.com, before it turned into a ecomerce design site was a gay social network. The owner blames the closure of the site due to progress in gay rights (all within a year!).http://betashop.com/post/3741657155/when-to-change-your-game-the-fab-com-story-10-tips

    • Over a year gay oppression stopped? Haha Fabulis.com failed because it was a half-baked (albeit pretty) idea. Blaming it on progress is so transparently manipulative.

  • Fab.com, before it turned into a ecomerce design site was a gay social network. The owner blames the closure of the site due to progress in gay rights (all within a year!).http://betashop.com/post/3741657155/when-to-change-your-game-the-fab-com-story-10-tips

    • Over a year gay oppression stopped? Haha Fabulis.com failed because it was a half-baked (albeit pretty) idea. Blaming it on progress is so transparently manipulative.

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  • DiatribesAndOvations.com
    Reply

    As long as we perpetuate the need for “gay” anything (gay bars, gay parades, etc.), we’ll never be a part of mainstream society. The LGBT community will eventually cease to exist and become a part of “the community” in general. Guys that like guys will always be able to find each other.

    • This is the dumbest thing I have ever read. Society is formed by interlinked communities, all different, but working together. Are you suggesting we all become white, male, straight and wealthy? Some queers, believe it or not, don’t want to be accepted by the mainstream. And we shouldn’t have to. Your internalized homophobia is infuriating.

  • DiatribesAndOvations.com
    Reply

    As long as we perpetuate the need for “gay” anything (gay bars, gay parades, etc.), we’ll never be a part of mainstream society. The LGBT community will eventually cease to exist and become a part of “the community” in general. Guys that like guys will always be able to find each other.

    • This is the dumbest thing I have ever read. Society is formed by interlinked communities, all different, but working together. Are you suggesting we all become white, male, straight and wealthy? Some queers, believe it or not, don’t want to be accepted by the mainstream. And we shouldn’t have to. Your internalized homophobia is infuriating.

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