Dear Ellison, Heino, & Gibbs,
I find the topic of online dating really interesting and have written research papers on this topic. While online dating can be a great tool for people to find love and can also be an easy way for people with limited time to search for a romantic interest. However, like you mentioned, using the internet is an easy way to present oneself in a very positive and attractive light, even if this may not be true. You discuss the ideal self which is “One way in which participants reconciled their conflicting needs for positive self-presentation and accuracy was to create profiles that described a potential, future version of self” (Ellison et al., 2006). So, people may not necessarily be trying to deceive the people that look at their profiles, but rather want them to see their better sides, even if they may not fully be at that level quite yet.
Baym also touches on deception in online dating sites. Baym talks about how important and affecting names are on websites. She found that people generally form initial impressions of a person based on their username.
Both articles discuss self presentation and representation online as being a powerful tool to attract others. In real life, there are “there are expressions given (communication in the traditional sense, e.g., spoken communication) and expressions given off (presumably unintentional communication, such as nonverbal communication cues)” (Ellison et al., 2006). Online, there is more room to control the expressions given off. For example if you have a picture of you cooking, you are giving off the impression that you are domestic and possibly a good cook. On the contrary, if you post a picture of yourself in a party setting, you may want to give the impression that you are not looking for anything serious. I think this is a very important and powerful part of the online dating world.