For those of us who use gay dating apps, swiping through chats and profiles is always an unexpected adventure. Sometimes we get lucky, but even when it’s not a match, how we treat each other still matters.

Based on the experiences of dating app users from around the world, the NiceAF campaign explores real life scenarios of ways we can all treat each other better online. App users submitted video testimonials discussing a negative dating app interaction and how they turned the situation around to keep it nice as f*ck.

“Many minority men find themselves either objectified and stereotyped. Where’s the community? Where’s the respect?” said Adam4Adam’s mr Dave. “Adam4Adam is for everybody.”

Adam4Adam along with six other gay dating platforms collaborated with Building Healthy Online Communities (BHOC), a partnership of public health leaders and dating app owners, to develop the NiceAF campaign — a first-ever cross-industry campaign of this kind. 

During the month of June, the app partners invited their users to vote for the NiceAF videos that best embodied NiceAF’s mission of promoting nicer, kinder interactions between users. The contest generated nearly 105,000 website views and over 3,000 votes. 

“I find that the rudeness and sexual discrimination are mere extensions of cyber bullying,” commented one NiceAF viewer. “Admittedly, I have blasted someone after being rejected, but try very hard to keep those feelings in check.”

“It’s about consideration that people are vulnerable and have feelings, even if you can’t see their reactions through the phone screens,” commented another viewer.

On social media, in news websites, and in nearly every comments section on the internet, people often say things they would never say to each other in person. The anonymity, and the fact that they may never meet, makes it easy for people to leave their real-world manners behind once they go online.

The problem is the insults can often have profound, lasting effects. This kind of behavior is too common in dating sites, when people are often at their most vulnerable. Among gay men, these same dynamics can have an even stronger impact. 

John Pachankis, a Yale psychiatrist who has done extensive research on gay men’s mental health, says “The data are clear. When gay men experience stigma coming from other members of their own community, it can have even worse effects than when it comes from the outside.”

“Racism and other kinds of bigotry and stigma have no place in our society, whether it’s on the streets or online,” said Jen Hecht, director of BHOC and the NiceAF campaign. “As a queer community we’ve made giant strides in addressing the way the outside world treats us. Now, we have a great opportunity to change how we treat each other.”

The dating app community is only as nice as the person you’re chatting with and Adam4Adam supports kinder behavior by creating space that’s welcoming for all. What ways do you keep your interactions on A4A NiceAF?

The contest just wrapped up, and based on the number of votes, overall rating, and total video views, the NiceAF grand-prize winner and two runners-up received cash prizes. Watch the winning videos by visiting NiceAF.org.

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