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The Dynamics of Self-representation in internet dating

The Dynamics of Self-representation in internet dating

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  • 1. The Dynamics of Self-Representation in Online Dating By: Loren White Self-presentation is an important aspect that influences how online daters make decisions about their online identities. Aspects of self-presentation and the characteristics of CMC affect the users motivation and how they construct their online images.
  • 2. A New Twist on Love’s Labor Webb & Wright. 2011 • When utilizing online dating the goal is to attract a desirable users and build a successful relationship. This explains the effort and time put into creating an online profile. • Self-presentation is driven by motivational and constructional processes. “If other peoples opinions matter in achieving certain goals, one will invest time and effort into influencing those opinions” (Wright& Webb 2011). The construction process involves perceiving what one’s audience value. This is impression management.
  • 3. A New Twist on Love’s Labor Webb & Wright. 2011 • People act as “strategic self presenters” tailoring their online images to suit their goals and purposes. If one were seeking employment online then one would highlight previous and relevant job experiences that relate to competence. In online dating one caters to the preferences of their online users as well highlighting specifics that attract others. • Majority of Web based dating sites require users to answer predetermined questions such as age, height, weight, interests, and hobbies. This process of revealing one’s information is known as self disclosure and also involves revealing thing such as thoughts, feeling, aspirations fears and dreams.
  • 4. A New Twist on Love’s Labor Webb & Wright. 2011 CMC has certain characteristics that allow for: • Editability-Essentially this means that online users can edit and revise their self-presentation as many times as they would like. In contrast face to face self-presenters cannot edit first impressions. • Asynchronity- This refers to the time lag that online self-presenters are given. This allows them to take as much time as they want to tailor their online profile. • Re-allocation of cognitive resources- This is the ability to reduce distractions while conducting online social affairs. The isolation of the user also them to focus solely on portraying their self-presentation.
  • 5. A New Twist on Love’s Labor Critiques I agree with the assertions made in this study but I think that as time progresses and technology becomes more interactive with the concept of Web 3.0 online dating will evolve. I think it will evolve into something that will allow users to recognize social contexts more. Already this has begun as more dating sites now cater to a specific demographicfarmersonly.com, blackpeoplemeet.com) This enhances the elements of social context that influences communication as well as self-presentation.
  • 6. ManagingImpressions Online Ellison et al. 2006 • This study sought to explore self-presentation strategies online and how users manage their online identities in order to accomplish a goal of finding a romantic partner. •Ubiquitous access to the internet, diminished social stigma regarding online dating, and the affordable cost of matchmaking sites has made online dating more popular in recent years. •Individuals seek “to convey an impression to others of which it is in his interest to convey” (Ellison et al.2006).
  • 7. Managing Impressions Ellison et al. 2006 • The research suggests that pressures to highlight one’s positive attributes are experienced in tandem with the need to present one’s authentic self. This creates a tension between authenticity and impression management that is inherent in aspects of self disclosure.The struggle in self-presentation of results in deception however there are some aspects of online dating that discourage deception. For example the anticipation of meeting face-to-face commonly influences choices regarding self-representation. This anticipation increases as the probability of a face-to-face encounter develops and thus truthful self-disclosure becomes more important.
  • 8. An Examination of Deceptive Self- Presentation Toma et al. 2008 • This study was done using empirical data taken from online dating profiles. Information about participants physical appearances were collected and cross validated with their online profiles. The results show the many participants engaged in managed deception and that their were differences between both genders in term of deception usage. • The characteristics of CMC (Asynchronity, reduction of context cues, and relocation of cognitive resources) cater for deceptive self-presentation. This link below explore the realm of online self presentation and how it is pervaded by deception: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10K137WU9gw
  • 9. An Examination of Deceptive Self- Presentation Toma et al. 2008 • Patterns of deception may be explained by differences in gender. This study highlights that men and women exercise different strategies for enhancing their reproductive fitness. As mentioned before it depends on what one wants to appear as and what others value. In general men are attracted to youthfulness and beauty whereas many women seek stability and a partner that has the ability to provide.
  • 10. An Examination of Deceptive Self- Presentation Toma et al. 2008 • In the cases presented men often lied about their height and women often lied about there weight. • Men with higher paying employment usually had more successes with finding partners online. • Men indicated a higher tolerance for lying about their relationship status. • Both genders did not exhibit a high tolerance for lying about their ages.
  • 11. An Examination of Deceptive Self- Presentation Toma et al. 2008 • Factors Influencing Deception • The desire to augment one’s attractiveness yet stay true to one’s self in hopes that a prospective partner will love them for who they are. • Engaging in enhanced self-presentation yet considering the possibility of future face-to-face contact. • Taking advantage of CMC’s characteristics to edit self presentation but bear in mind its constraints on lying.
  • 12. An Examination of Deceptive Self- Presentation Critiques This study intricately explores the role of deception and how it affects self-presentation. The authors discuss the complexities of human psychology that influences to what extent people provide deceiving self-presentations online. • I think that with regards to studies done on online profile deception there should be some leeway in the accuracy of the information provided. For example many times people provide deceiving information unknowingly; if I didn’t know my exact height or weight at a certain point in time I would be very likely to provide false information for the sake of time and edit it later. • This study highlights that the real world is actually mirrored by the virtual world. Using deception on an online profile to prove that a man is taller or a woman is skinnier is seeking to satisfy the social constructs of attractiveness. In other words society influences how if and to what extent we choose to deceive in online dating.
  • 13. The Dynamics of Internet Dating (Lawson &Leck 2006) • This study completed in 2006 discusses the motivations for entering the online dating world. The authors utilize participant observation and in- depth interviews to get a comprehensive amount of empirical data.
  • 14. The Dynamics of Internet Dating (Lawson &Leck 2006) • The interview questions engaged the participants; to describe their experiences with online dating, state whether their experiences were positive or negative and how and why they entered the online dating world. Reasons for Joining the Internet Dating world • Companionship- Lonely people reported feeling bored and dejected with face-to-face relationships. This made it hard for them to build romantic relationships and limited how much time they put into these relationships. Participants stated they wanted more emotional support and companionship. • Comfort After Life Crisis- The internet brings together many people that share similar experiences such as cancer patients. The social and emotional support offered online by people that understood their feelings drew them towards online dating. • Freedom for Commitment and Stereotypic Roles- Many participants mostly the younger ones stated that the internet gave them freedom to manipulate self-presentation. Young girls especially like to be aggressive online because it is socially frowned upon for them to do so in public.
  • 15. The Dynamics of Internet Dating (Lawson &Leck 2006) • Online Dating as an Adventure- Many participants in this study joined the internet dating world for the rush of adrenaline received at the prospect of having a new sexual partner. Online dating also allowed for many people to travel and meet people in different part of the world, experiences that are adventurous and educational. • Online Dating as a Romantic Fantasy- Through constructing social fronts people resort to stepping away from reality and entering the romantic fantasy world that online dating offers. These participants were not very fond of the prospect of face-to-face interaction but enjoyed the social fronts that they constructed online.
  • 16. The Dynamics of Internet Dating Critiques • This article was particularly interesting to me because it seems like online dating is expanding therefore the motivations are more widespread than ever before in our community. It seems to me like the empowerment the CMC creates draws people to online dating. They can abandon a certain reality about grounded truth that might cause them to feel anxious in a certain social context. This article stimulates my thought on where online dating is heading and how interactive it will continue to get. Also I question what these statistics say about our society as a whole.