Monday, April 2, 2012

Misinterpretation in the Online World of Relationships

Dear Ellison,

Your article explains a great deal of information about the communication systems and different scenarios of online communication that take place when people are looking to form romantic relationships.  What really struck me as important was the idea of misinterpretation and the fact that anyone can hide who they truly are over the internet.  It is crazy how much pressure people face when they are looking to find romantic relationships online.  As you mentioned in your article, some people lie about their age so they don't look "too old" and are not searched, as some people lie about their hobbies like hiking, when really they haven't hiked in years.  It is so easy to misconstrue the person you truly are when you are not actually face to face with someone.  The negative aspects of internet meetings is that anyone can explain themselves as a certain type of male or female just so they can get recognized.  This is not what relationships are about in the end.  Relationships should be with someone that you truly share something with and someone whose personality is enjoyable to you.  I liked how in your article you mentioned that many people will tell the truth on their online profiles if they know that a face to face meeting will have to take place in the future.  It is important that you tell the truth if you have to meet someone in person because then no matter what (or at least your physical appearance) will be revealed. 

Your article speaks in sync with Nancy K. Baym's chapters about the connections that can be made when creating online profiles and forming relationships in online scenarios.  Baym's view gives a more positive side of online relationships and explains various scenarios in which these connections can be beneficial for both persons.  Baym explains a scenario in which one person forms a romantic relationship with another and then that person's family is surprised to know that the information he provided on his online profile was actually true.  This shows that many people are used to the idea that online information can be deceiving and even misinterpreted so easily.  In a way, this can be a good thing so that people are cautious when it comes down to believing what they read.  However, this can also be a negative thing when certain people are telling the truth and others think they are lying.  In your article, you gave an example of this when one of the males in your experiment said that telling the truth his age hurts his appearance.  He wants to be an honest guy and does tell the truth on his profile -- but then is he is completely avoided by many users because of that truth. 

All in all, it is definitely a difficult situation when trying to form relationships over the internet.  So many different areas of information can be deceived and even altered so that someone's appearance is more appealing.  I think it would be great that in the future if this experiment is redone, there will be more ways in which this can be stopped.  Encouraging talking on the phone, or meeting in person will most likely help more people tell the truth about who they are and who they want to be.  It is important that truth is a variable in these situations because if a relationship starts out in a lie, it most likely isn't going to last very long. 

Thank you,
Loralyn Sortino

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