Monday, April 2, 2012

They are who we thought they were?

Dear Ellison et all,

I found your article "Managing Impressions Online" to be very eye-opening and relevant to current times. Online dating is a huge market that is becoming more and more popular. I have personally never tried it, but my sister has so I have gained a little insight through her personal experiences. The topic of your article, deception, is something I have pondered on my own in terms of online dating. What is to stop someone from lying about their information or picture in order to make themselves more favorable to the opposite sex? Well, nothing really. In fact, you wrote that this generally tends to be the case: "Research suggests that when individuals expect to meet a potential dating partner for the first time, they will alter their self-presentational behavior in accordance with the values desired by the prospective date. Even when interacting with strangers, individuals tend to engage in self-enhancement." Whether this is done consciously or subconsciously, it happens, and it happens quite often. Baym speaks in her writing about how technology can serve as a safety net for people and help them to lower their inhibitions and be more receptive to meeting new people. I think that is why so many people are drawn to online dating versus going out and meeting new people face-to-face (not to mention it is a lot more convenient). It is easier for people to let down their guard when they are sitting behind a computer screen, and some, if not much of that has to do with the fact that lying online is easier than lying in person. You cannot hide your appearance in person, or all of the subtle, nonverbal language you communicate during normal conversation. Hiding in an online world makes people more brave and more bold; it gives them a sense of confidence they may otherwise not have had. I enjoyed reading your article and learned a great deal of where online dating currently stands and where it is potentially headed.

Josh Brooks

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