From the Web

FROM THE WEB: Can Niche Online Subcultures Survive The Threat Of The Mainstream?


Niche dating services are both a product of the growth in interest-based online communities that the birth of the internet created, and a reaction against the mainstream one-size-fits-all offerings.

And while the internet helped niche communities thrive in the early days, the threat from the mainstream is inescapable, and the struggles niche dating platforms face are common to those faced by other online subcultures around the world.

An article on The Conversation by Jessa Lingel looks at this issue by telling the story of a site for body modification enthusiasts, the Body Modification E-zine (BME).

Lingel, an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, studied this community, along with a punk scene and east coast drag culture, for her forthcoming book “Digital Countercultures and the Struggle for Community.”

This particular online community, BME, thrived after its launch in 1994, but struggled after the proliferation of more global communities like Facebook and Myspace – problems that overhauls to its user experience failed to solve.

Lingel argues that despite the dominance of such social giants, those who suffer most from these platform are those on the margins, people whose “identities and experiences are least likely to be anticipated by designers without significant experiences of marginalization.”

Read the article here.

Simon Edmunds

Simon is the former editor of Global Dating Insights. Born in Newcastle, he has an English degree from Queen Mary, London and after working for the NHS, trained as a journalist with the Press Association. Passionate about music, journalism and Newcastle United.

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