Oxford university online dating study
Qualitative data analysis suggests that participants attended to small cues online, mediated the tension between impression management pressures and the desire to present an authentic sense of self through tactics such as creating a profile that reflected their “ideal self,” and attempted to establish the veracity of their identity claims.
This study provides empirical support for Social Information Processing theory in a naturalistic context while offering insight into the complicated way in which “honesty” is enacted online.
For instance, the anticipated future face-to-face interaction inherent in most online dating interactions may diminish participants’ sense of visual anonymity, an important variable in many online self-disclosure studies.
An empirical study of online dating participants found that those who anticipated greater face-to-face interaction did feel that they were more open in their disclosures, and did not suppress negative aspects of the self (Gibbs et al., 2006).
This tension between authenticity and impression management is inherent in many aspects of self-disclosure.
In recent years, the use of online dating or online personals services has evolved from a marginal to a mainstream social practice. In fact, the online personals category is one of the most lucrative forms of paid content on the web in the United States (Egan, 2003) and the online dating market is expected to reach 2 million in 2008 (Greenspan, 2003).In 2003, at least 29 million Americans (two out of five singles) used an online dating service (Gershberg, 2004); in 2004, on average, there were 40 million unique visitors to online dating sites each month in the U. Ubiquitous access to the Internet, the diminished social stigma associated with online dating, and the affordable cost of Internet matchmaking services contribute to the increasingly common perception that online dating is a viable, efficient way to meet dating or long-term relationship partners (St. Mediated matchmaking is certainly not a new phenomenon: Newspaper personal advertisements have existed since the mid-19th century (Schaefer, 2003) and video dating was popular in the 1980s (Woll & Cosby, 1987; Woll & Young, 1989).Although scholars working in a variety of academic disciplines have studied these earlier forms of mediated matchmaking (e.g., Ahuvia & Adelman, 1992; Lynn & Bolig, 1985; Woll, 1986; Woll & Cosby, 1987), current Internet dating services are substantively different from these incarnations due to their larger user base and more sophisticated self-presentation options.Goffman’s work on self-presentation explicates the ways in which an individual may engage in strategic activities “to convey an impression to others which it is in his interests to convey” (1959, p. These impression-management behaviors consist of expressions (presumably unintentional communication, such as nonverbal communication cues).Self-presentation strategies are especially important during relationship initiation, as others will use this information to decide whether to pursue a relationship (Derlega, Winstead, Wong, & Greenspan, 1987).