Monday, April 2, 2012

The Personal Profile

Dear Mr. Ellison,

I found your article “Managing Impressions Online: Self-Presentation Processes in the Online Dating Environment” very interesting and thought provoking. We spend so much time online and feel so comfortable that most of us never really put conscious thought into how we are presenting ourselves online. This presentation, though, is no more important than in the online dating game where your first impression is of most importance. As you say, “One constrain-the lack of nonverbal cues-meant that the task of interpreting the remaining cues became paramount in regards to both assessment of others and presentation of self.” I believe that those remaining cues come mostly from the profile that one sets up on the dating sites. And since in your study the participants were going to have face-to-face communication they had to be true to themselves in their profile.

Baym adds to my thought of the importance of appearance by saying, “We are used to assessing people and doing much of the work of getting closer through nonverbal signals. We often size people up and decide whether or not to talk to them based on how they look.” That look comes from the online profile and is the other component besides the nonverbal cues. Both you and Baym recognize the importance of non-verbal clues in initial human interactions. People also somehow recognize this importance because as you said the participants found ways around the profiles. This allowed them to interact on a more personal level where non-verbal cues where of upmost importance.

Andrew Kerth

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