Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Maybe Yes Maybe No

Dear Nicole Ellison,

Your words about the online dating arena are true in my opinion. You really explore how the self is represented in an online setting that one would not normally fully consider. As you mentioned an important aspect to keep in mind is that online dating has an ultimate purpose that some other social media uses may not possess. As a result an individuals motivations in terms of representing themselves may differ quite drastically. The knowledge or desire to have a serious relationship as the end result is a great motivator in influencing decisions on representations. This is important as the online medium provides a great variety of options to mold one's own image into what they may think their hopeful significant other would want them to look like. This then causes individuals to become more alert about certain aspects of a persons being such as the the small cues that they give off in their writing as well as the accuracy of their description of themselves. The latter is a large issue and a topic of many discussions among the many critics of the online dating world.

Nancy Baym also seems to support your last two claims. In her work she notices that the these aspects play a significant role within the users of online dating services. Ultimately, Baym seems to acknowledge that the fundamental issue with many is the construction of one's self. This I believe supports your work in several different ways. Both you and Baym also make references to Goffman and Higgins in terms of the components that make up a person's self image. While all this is true, I believe that an important issue that both of you touched on was the fact that there is still much uncertainty in the field. The social stigmas that have come to linked with online dating may not be entirely true. There are issues present that lead critics to think this way, but your work as well as Baym seem to depict that there is definitely more to the subject than what is already known. As a result, the services may be a viable source of new relationships but at the same time may actually support the claims by those critics. For these reasons I believe that your work and Nancy Baym's work actually stand to support each other in several ways.

Jonathan Thai

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