BIO

Hello! I’m 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.

REFEREED ARTICLES

Wang, Skyler. 2021. “Migrant Allies & Sexual Remittances: How International Students Change the Sexual Attitudes of Those Who Remain Behind.” Sociological Perspectives. Online first.

How does moving from a sexually conservative country to a liberal one alter the way international students think about homosexuality and same-sex rights, and how does this impact their communities back home? Drawing on survey data with 90 heterosexual Singaporean students studying at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, as well as interview data with 17 students and 14 of their family members and friends who remained in Singapore, this study finds that despite having a broad spectrum of prior opinions, the majority of the student participants acquired increasingly accepting sexual attitudes after their relocation. Furthermore, many of them send these new conceptions as “sexual remittances” to their originating communities, changing the values of those who remain behind. This study helps lay the groundwork for further investigations of how engagements among international students and their social networks can contribute to evolving understandings of transnational sexuality and the globalization of culture.

Watson, Ryan J., Shannon Snapp*, and Skyler Wang*. 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.
(*equal authorship)

In this paper, we acknowledge and critique the absence of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) experiences in the recent proliferation of scholarship on “hooking up” among youth (aged 16 to 24). Although previous research has documented that LGB youth hookup at high rates (up to three-quarters of LGB youth), and oftentimes more than heterosexuals, the most basic aspects of hookups (e.g., motivations, experiences, and outcomes) have not been comprehensively explored. This is pertinent because young adulthood, in particular, is a time when young people explore their sexuality. Most scholarship on hooking up has focused on White heterosexual college students, mostly due to sampling constraints and impediments, and so we are left with a critical gap in our knowledge about LGB youth—a population that is typically at higher risk for sexual, mental, and emotional health issues. We begin by reviewing the literature on hooking up among heterosexual young adults as organized by four themes: hookup definitions/frequencies, contexts, motivations, and outcomes. We do this to explicitly highlight and contrast what little is known about LGB youth hookups. We then provide a research agenda that projects how future researchers can advance this area of scholarship and begin to fill its gaps, while considering the hookup experiences of diverse LGB youth.

NON-REFEREED CONTRIBUTIONS

“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 and Summer 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 an evidence-based approach to bolster their online dating game.

CV


Curriculum Vitae

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