1. Alix says:

    Dear Kjell,

    as nobody has commented on your video thus far, here we go:

    I weirdly enjoyed the mood and atmosphere of your video – it reminds of an old documentary on sex we watched in school maybe 10 years ago, especially with the music. Very expressive song you picked there, thanks for the – slightly uncomfortable – throwback!

    I also appreciate the clear structure and line of argument you present in you video, it makes it easier to follow and to keep up, which is great since the video is rather long. I do think, however, that your story would have been more engaging and compelling if you would have kept it a bit shorter and more to the point. That point being that romance develops and is performed differently across countries and that these countries’ cultural contexts shape the role of technology within the development and performance of romance. You are thus rejecting notions of technological determinism and stress the importance of understanding technologies as tools that are appropriated and shaped by the social and cultural context they are used in.

    Before I go into some details regarding your argument, here are a few things that I think could have improved your video (you know, for all the digital stories you are going to tell in the future!):
    Backing up all your claims with in-video references not only stretched out your story, but also made the video feel more like an academic essay and less like a “story”, i.e. a compelling argumentation. In combination with the sometimes not very natural structure of your argument and the scholarly definitions, your video may be less engaging for less academic audiences. I’m also not sure whether you really needed the explicit comparison of online and offline dating agencies. I think comparing digital agencies and then relating their characteristics back to the respective cultural contexts would have made your argument a little more poignant as well as shorter.

    Regarding your argument in general: it is very straightforward, as well as competently and convincingly structured and presented – even though your research questions is phrased a little confusingly and there is a lot of input delivered throughout your video. I do miss, however, a more critical, reflective or nuanced approach to your topic. Instead of elaborating on the general differences of developing and performing romance in different countries, you could, for instance, delve deeper into your examples of the deviations of traditional performances of romance and what role digital dating agencies (could) play here – which would have interested me greatly!

    I think your story would have also been more convincing if you hadn’t tried to compare “the West” with two specific countries outside of it. Your whole point is that cultural contexts are crucial for understanding the role of digital dating agencies and with this in mind it seems rather forced to try and make your audience believe that there are no differences across Western societies and their developments and performances of romance. This choice of comparison would have maybe made more sense if your argument was about rethinking perceived differences between Western and Non-Western cultures, but since that was not part of your story, the comparison didn’t exactly strengthen your argument, in my opinion.

    In summary, I think your argument probably works great as an essay and as such was interesting and well presented – also in form of a video. Not exactly what I would think the idea of telling a digital story is really about (which for me should be a little more critical or engaging), but it still worked out well in your own way!


  2. Mwen says:

    Dear Kjell,

    Well done on your video. I extensively enjoyed the style and illustration of your points, and was very engaged.

    The comparison between the West, India and China, was also very clear in highlighting the cultural based contextual differences when it comes to dating. Though I feel as though the west should not be considered as a single entity, since cultures even relating to countries bordering each other can differ extensively. Since you highlighted Germany, perhaps this could have been your focus point in regards to the west?

    I liked the fact you stated a clear research question at the beginning. Though lengthy it allowed for the audience to refer back to it throughout the video, which elaborated your argument further.

    I especially liked the highlighted definitions of development and performance early on, this knowledge allowed for a clear understanding throughout the rest of the video as these two factors were reoccurring. As for your argument which I believe states that offline performances and developments of love and dating based on cultural contexts affect online ones, as opposed to the digital sphere determining how love is approached offline. This is clear throughout, but perhaps concentrating on one cultural context could have allowed for a more in depth understanding of the factors most significant in that culture.

    Kind Regards,



  3. Payal Arora says:

    Dear Kjell,
    Adding to the excellent insights by Alix and Mwen on not reducing the “west” to a single entity as it defies your argument as well as the length and structure and the academic nature of the video, I would like to add that I found this topic compelling and I appreciate your larger point of technology as a culturally appropriated tool. It would be interesting to have emphasized how efficiency rules across contexts as in India, for instance, there are a number of studies that emphasize that parents and match makers have taken to these online sites very enthusiastically as the algorithm helps them match caste, astrology charts etc very effectively (otherwise its a tedious process). Its much like a job application going online. In fact, I would focus more on the technological affordances that are stable aspects across cultural contexts which influence and perhaps even globalize certain practices due to their biased structures. Lastly, I like your point of old media systems (like television shows) in China, reminding the viewer that this is not necessarily a novel phenomena of using mass media for romance.


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