Handling Impressions On The Web: Self-Presentation Processes into the Online Dating Sites Environment

Handling Impressions On The Web: Self-Presentation Processes into the Online Dating Sites Environment

Nicole Ellison, Rebecca Heino, Jennifer Gibbs, Managing Impressions Online: Self-Presentation Processes when you look at the online dating sites Environment, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, amount 11, problem 2, 1 January 2006, Pages 415–441


This research investigates self-presentation techniques among internet dating participants, checking out just how individuals handle their online presentation of self to be able to achieve the purpose of getting a partner that is romantic. Thirty-four people active for a large dating that is online took part in phone interviews about their online dating sites experiences and perceptions. Qualitative information analysis shows that individuals taken care of tiny cues online, mediated the tension between impression administration pressures while the want to provide a sense that is authentic of through techniques such as for example producing a profile that reflected their “ideal self, ” and attempted to ascertain the veracity of the identification claims. This research provides support that is empirical Social Suggestions Processing theory in a naturalistic context and will be offering understanding of the complicated method by which “honesty” is enacted online.


The internet dating arena represents a way to report changing social norms surrounding technology-mediated relationship development also to gain understanding of essential facets of online behavior, such as for example impression development and self-presentation methods. Mixed-mode relationships, wherein individuals meet that is first and then go offline, challenge established theories that concentrate on solely online relationships and offer possibilities for brand new concept development (Walther & Parks, 2002). Although past research has explored relationship development and self-presentation online (Bargh, McKenna, & Fitzsimons, 2002; McLaughlin, Osbourne, & Ellison, 1997; Parks & Floyd, 1996; Roberts & Parks, 1999; Utz, 2000), the internet dating forum is qualitatively not the same as a great many other online settings as a result of the expectation of face-to-face connection inherent in this context (Gibbs, Ellison, & Heino, 2006) and also the proven fact that social techniques are nevertheless nascent.

The use of online dating or online personals services has evolved from a marginal to a mainstream social practice in recent years. In 2003, at the least 29 million People in america (two away from five singles) used an on-line relationship solution (Gershberg, 2004); in 2004, an average of, there have been 40 million unique people to online dating sites every month when you look at the U.S. (CBC Information, 2004). In reality, the web personals category is among the many lucrative kinds of premium content on the internet in america (Egan, 2003) additionally the online dating sites marketplace is likely to achieve $642 million in 2008 (Greenspan, 2003). Ubiquitous use of the online world, the diminished social stigma connected with internet dating, in addition to affordable price of online matchmaking services donate to the increasingly typical perception that online dating is a possible, efficient solution to meet relationship or long-lasting relationship lovers (St. John, 2002). Mediated matchmaking is obviously perhaps not a brand new event: magazine personal adverts have actually existed considering that the mid-19th century (Schaefer, 2003) and movie relationship had been popular within the 1980s (Woll & Cosby, 1987; Woll & younger, 1989). Although scholars doing work in many different educational procedures have actually examined these previous types of mediated matchmaking ( ag e.g., Ahuvia & Adelman, 1992; Lynn & Bolig, 1985; Woll, 1986; Woll & Cosby, 1987), present Internet online dating services are substantively distinct from these incarnations for their bigger individual base and much more advanced self-presentation choices.

Modern theoretical views let us advance our knowledge of the way the age-old procedure of mate-finding is changed through online strategies and habits. As an example, Social Suggestions Processing (SIP) theory hotornot along with other frameworks help illuminate computer-mediated communication (CMC), social interaction, and impression management procedures. This informative article targets the methods for which CMC interactants handle their self-presentation that is online and to our familiarity with these procedures by examining these problems when you look at the naturalistic context of online dating sites, making use of qualitative data collected from in-depth interviews with online dating sites individuals.

Literature Review

This article reflects a social shaping perspective in contrast to a technologically deterministic perspective that focuses on the characteristics of the technologies themselves, or a socially deterministic approach that privileges user behavior. Social shaping of technology approaches (Dutton, 1996; MacKenzie & Wajcman, 1985; Woolgar, 1996) acknowledge the ways that information and interaction technologies (ICTs) both form and therefore are shaped by social methods. As Dutton points down, “technologies can start, near, and otherwise shape choices that are social but not constantly when you look at the methods anticipated on such basis as rationally extrapolating through the recognized properties of technology” (1996, p. 9). One particular framework that reflects this method is Howard’s (2004) embedded news viewpoint, which acknowledges both the capabilities plus the constraints of ICTs. Capabilities are those facets of technology that enhance our capability to connect to the other person, enact modification, so forth; constraints are those facets of technology that hinder our capability to attain these objectives. An aspect that is important of usage, which is mentioned not clearly highlighted in Howard’s framework, may be the idea of circumvention, which defines the precise techniques used by people to exploit the capabilities and reduce the constraints connected with their usage of ICTs. Even though the idea of circumvention is unquestionably perhaps not not used to CMC scientists, this informative article seeks to emphasize the necessity of circumvention methods whenever learning the social facets of technology usage. 1

Self-Presentation and Self-Disclosure in Online and Offline Contexts

Self-presentation and self-disclosure procedures are essential facets of relational development in offline settings (Taylor & Altman, 1987), particularly in initial phases. Goffman’s work on self-presentation explicates the real ways that a person may participate in strategic activities “to convey the feeling to other people which it really is in their interests to convey” (1959, p. 4). These impression-management habits consist of expressions offered (interaction within the conventional feeling, e.g., spoken communication) and expressions provided down (presumably unintentional interaction, such as for example nonverbal interaction cues). Self-presentation techniques are specifically essential during relationship initiation, as other people will utilize this given information to determine whether or not to pursue a relationship (Derlega, Winstead, Wong, & Greenspan, 1987). Analysis implies that whenever people be prepared to fulfill a dating that is potential the very first time, they are going to alter their self-presentational behavior relative to the values desired by the potential date (Rowatt, Cunningham, & Druen, 1998). Even though reaching strangers, people have a tendency to participate in self-enhancement (Schlenker & Pontari, 2000).

Comments are closed.