Uses, perspectives and affordances in mobile apps.

An exploratory study on gender identity for young adults in social media platforms in Portugal


  • Ana Marta M. Flores ICNOVA/University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • Eduardo Antunes University of Coimbra, Portugal



This study addresses gender identity as an important aspect of young adults' relationships with and on digital social platforms and apps. From an exploratory approach, it analyses different corpora with smartphone tracking data to characterise the use of mobile apps. From there, we seek to understand the use of these platforms according to gender, through focus groups. Finally, we explore a simplified alternative of the walkthrough method about the gender identification of the six main social apps most used by young adults in Portugal. In general,  we identify a group that considers itself neutral and a group with active and contesting behaviour, which seems to resonate with the affordances of the most used social apps among young adults in Portugal. We have identified that YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger and TikTok either offer complete freedom in adding the user's gender and pronouns or there is not even the option to fill in this information.

Keywords: app studies, gender identity, social media apps.