DIGITAL CULTURES OF CARE, SAFETY AND WELLBEING
Keywords:Communities, dating apps, care, health, sexuality
Practices of self-care and social support have long been identified across social media platforms and apps, as people find new ways of using and adapting digital technologies to mediate and address personal and public health issues. But digital health participation is considerably contested and unevenly experienced, whether through the commodified ‘platformization’ of the health sector, or in the potentially ‘unhealthy’ engagement with dominant social media platforms or dating and hookup apps. Contemporary policy frameworks for participatory, digital-enabled healthcare (e.g., NHS, 2019) assume that we all engage in health or help seeking practices online, but have no answers to associated risks of over-exposure, invasive health surveillance or experiences of discrimination and harassment online, particularly for those at the margins. In our case studies, this is pertinent for transgender, non-binary and female hookup app users, people seeking support for mental ill-health, illicit drug users participating in crypto-markets and dark web communities. In response to this scenario, this panel asks: what are the forms and capacities for collective care in the current digital ecosystem, between social media platforms and dating apps struggling to address harassment or mental wellbeing, within health service-supported online forums, and across the dark web? This panel looks at evidence and answers, as well as research practices and ethics, to understand personal and collective attempts to negotiate, manage, circumvent and otherwise find ways to reinvent cultures of care through digital platforms.