‘Who am I?’: Online dating self-presentations

Profile as promise: A framework for conceptualizing veracity in online dating self-presentations

From New Media & Society

Philosophers have long struggled with the existential inquiry, ‘Who am I?’, but this fundamental question is now routinely posed to internet users each time they construct an online representation of self, or profile. This study considers how discrepancies between one’s online profile and offline presentation are constructed, assessed, and justified. A qualitative approach influenced by grounded theory was taken In order to better understand user percep­tions and understandings. From this analysis the authors propose the online dating profile as promise framework as an ana­lytic lens that captures user understandings about profile representation through a qualitative analysis of their retrospective reflections. This study reveals that when it came to creating their own online representation, online dating participants gave themselves – and others – permission to employ a flexible sense of identity that drew upon past, present, and future selves. It recognizes online daters must manage the tension between comprehensively honest and selectively positive self-presentation in a context in which deception is technically effort­less but potentially damaging to relational goals and self-views. . The profile as promise framework enables us to better understand these dynamics and to consider when a misrepresentation is a lie and when it is merely a promise that may soon be fulfilled.

Abstract

This research explores how users conceptualize misrepresentation (their own and others’) in a specific genre of online self-presentation: the online dating profile. Using qualitative data collected from 37 online dating participants, we explore user understandings of self-presentational practices, specifically how discrepancies between one’s online profile and offline presentation are constructed, assessed, and justified. Based on our analysis, we propose the profile as promise framework as an analytic lens that captures user understandings about profile-based representation through a qualitative analysis of their retrospective reflections.

Read this research for free

Article details
Ellison, N., Hancock, J., & Toma, C. (2011). Profile as promise: A framework for conceptualizing veracity in online dating self-presentations New Media & Society DOI: 10.1177/1461444811410395

     
This entry was posted in Communication & Media, SAGE Insight and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.