WHO AM I

I am a Ph.D. Candidate of Sociology at UC Berkeley studying online dating, the sharing economy, culture, economic sociology, and social exchange.

My research and ideas have been featured on NPR (Morning Edition, All Things Considered), San Francisco Chronicle, Quartz, GQ, Vox, Mashable, HuffPost, and USA Today.

Broadly, I am interested in understanding how online technologies shape cultural schemas and offline relationships. Currently, I have two ongoing projects:

Finding Love in Algorithmic Society explores the romantic strategies singles deploy when partner-seeking online. By developing a continuum of quantification, with those who use spreadsheets to track, rate, and ‘lovehack’ their dates on one end and those who exclusively rely on intuition, I theorize how individuals today rely on or repel various forms of data and algorithmic-thinking to find romantic companionship.

Sharing Bodies in the Sharing Economy focuses on how bodies are used as a reciprocal tool when for those navigating the sharing economy. Scholarship on sharing largely prioritizes the exchange of commodities and skills, overlooking an integral question—how are bodies shared? To fill this gap, this study hones in on an underexplored, ‘pay-it-forward’ sharing network—Couchsurfing[.com]—to interrogate the gifting of sex in an era of platform capitalism. In the context of Couchsurfing, hosts provide hospitality while guests reciprocate using a variety of gifting strategies, with sex being one of them. To delineate how sex is signaled, appropriated, and negotiated both online and offline, I draw on interviews with Couchsurfers and three years of ethnographic data collected in four continents. I argue that against the predominantly negative and troublesome depictions of sex favored by popular accounts, Couchsurfers themselves render sex in ways that are morally and meaningfully diverse. Depending on an individual’s reciprocal-orientation (generalized, direct, or negative), hosts and guests portray sex as what I conceptualize to be mutuality, transaction, leverage, and/or abuse.

PUBLICATIONS

Refereed Articles

Watson, Ryan J., Snapp, Shannon D.*, & Wang, Skyler*. 2017. “What We Know and Where To Go From Here: A Review of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth Hookup Literature.” Sex Roles, 77(11- 12), 801-811.
(*Dr. Snapp and I contributed equally as co-authors.)

 

Other Academic Publications

Wang, Skyler. 2016. “Igniting a ‘Pink Dot’: Legal Pragmatism and Cultural Resonance in Singapore’s First LGBT Movement.” Sojourners, 8, 4-14.

Best Article – Francesco Duina Scholarship Award

Wang, Skyler. 2016. “A Critique from Within: The Core of Ai Weiwei’s ‘Sunflower Seeds.’” Undergraduate Journal of Art History & Visual Culture, (7), 10-17.


Policy Reports

MacAulay, Maggie & Wang, Skyler. 2016. #ResistStigma: How Do We Get There? Vancouver, BC: Community-Based Research Center for Gay Men’s Health.
English | Français


Public Sociology

Wang, Skyler. 2020. “Covid-19 is adding an unexpected urgency to how we date.” Quartz. Published May 8.

Wang, Skyler. 2017. “The Pink Dot Redrawn.” The Middle Ground. Published Jun 9. 

Wang, Skyler. 2016. “Progressives must leave Echo Chamber to Trump Hate.” The Daily Californian. Published Nov 18.

Wang, Skyler. 2016. “The Purpose of Studying Love Sociologically: A Pedagogical Experiment.” Queer Voices. Published Oct 27.

Wang, Skyler. 2016. “The Missing Puzzle: Environmentalism in An Era of Identity Politics.” Climate Refuge. Published April 15. 

Wang, Skyler. 2015. “A Sea of Change: UBC as a Hotbed for Evolving Views on Homosexuality.” The Ubyssey. Published September 16. 

INTERVIEWS

“Will virtual dating outlast the pandemic?” Quartz, Published May 14, 2020.

“In Partisan 2019, Listing ‘Moderate’ Can Hurt You On Dating Apps.” HuffPost, Published Nov 8, 2019.

“Signaling Your Politics on Tinder Is a Messy Business.” GQ, Published Jun 24, 2019.

“The Affluent Homeless: A Sleeping Pod, A Hired Desk and A Handful Of Clothes.” National Public Radio (All Things Considered), Published Apr 23, 2019.

“What you need to know about online dating.” University of California Official FB Page, Published Feb 14, 2019.

“Love Data Week: Online dating expert talks data (and 5 tips for online dating).” UC Berkeley Library, Published Feb 12, 2019.

“The rise of the Tinder-themed wedding.” Mashable, Published Feb 10, 2019.

“’Dating Sunday’: The busiest day of the year for online dating is Jan. 6.” USA Today, Published Jan 5, 2019.

“Are Dating Apps Affecting Our Mental Health?” Wisconsin Public Radio, Published Nov 1, 2018.

“Millennials don’t want to own things. Startups are eager to help.” San Francisco Chronicle,  Published Sep 10, 2018.

“Finding Love in a Hopeless Place.” New Hampshire Public Radio, Published Aug 17, 2018.

“Be My (Rural) Valentine: Finding Love Outside of Town.” Jefferson Public Radio, Published Feb 14, 2018.

“What Makes Us Click: How Online Dating Shapes Our Relationships.” National Public Radio (Morning Edition), Published Jan 2, 2018.

“The Unlit Flame: My Tinder Misadventures.” The Ubyssey, Published Feb 10, 2016.

TEACHING

I teach a university seminar called “What Makes You Click: Online Dating in the Age of Modern Romance” The course focuses on using sociological perspectives to help students understand the broad cultural patterns and implications of an ever-evolving tech and data-driven orientation towards relationship formation.

This class will be offered in Spring 2021 at UC Berkeley. Previously, I have taught it at the University of British Columbia.

Stepping outside of the university, I also frequently give public lectures and private talks on the topic of online dating. During my free time, I enjoy mentoring individuals who seek to use a data-driven approach to bolster their online dating game.

CV


Curriculum Vitae

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