In Up to Date, Tong and Van Der Heide explore the spicy, unsettling—and sometimes just exhausting—universe of online romance. As dating platforms like Bumble, Tinder, and Grindr proliferate, scholars have had to stretch their understandings of how courtship works, often arriving at fascinatingly counterintuitive theories about how twenty-first century daters shape online identities, select mates, mediate conflict, and maintain or terminate romantic relationships. This book guides readers through an increasingly complex and extensive literature, highlighting strengths and weaknesses of existing approaches, while establishing new avenues for the future. Written for both students and seasoned experts alike, the book also addresses the largely invisible underpinnings of what has become a multibillion-dollar industry, including proprietary algorithms and perverse economic incentives. Up to Date is a provocative and rigorous must-read for anyone who seeks to understand or conduct research regarding the social science of online romance.
Stephanie Tom Tong (Ph.D., Michigan State University) is an associate professor of communication at Wayne State University. Her work—situated at the intersection of social media and interpersonal communication—examines how family, friends, and romantic partners use technology to initiate, maintain, and dissolve close relationships. Brandon Van Der Heide (Ph.D., Michigan State University) is an associate professor of communication at Michigan State University. Brandon studies how people learn to trust one another and how this trust affects communication processes, relationships, and outcomes on the Internet.