According to the article ‘Is online dating destroying love?’ online dating offers the dream of removing the historic obstacles to true love (time, space, your dad sitting on the porch with a shotgun across his lap and an expression that says no boy is good enough for my girl). Funny, but online dating has enabled us to do so much more. Online dating has empowered us to create a version of ourselves that may not be a true representation of who we really are. While in a face-to-face situation you may not believe me when I tell you I’m a 28-year-old male aerospace engineer who models in his spare time, but on the internet you would. Why? Because it’s the internet.
In the reading, Managing Impressions Online: Self-Presentation Processes in the Online Dating Environment’ it is argued that there are three domains of the self: the actual self, the ideal self and the ought self. These three aspects of self-presentation are critical to online dating sites where the actual self creates a profile of their ideal self in order to seek a relationship (romantic or not). The issue arises when the relationship becomes more than just an online relationship and the expectations of the ideal self are not met. In the article ‘Online dating sites creating “Beauty Inflation”’ Marina Adshade believes that this problem begins with everyone putting their best photo on their online dating profile. When the profile photo is compared to the real life it creates a ‘contrast effect’ in which the real life is perceived as less attractive than it actually is purely because of the contrast between the two.
Online profiles have created the ability for an individual to pass as the gender of their choice. An example of this is MTV’s show Catfish. Each episode is focused on helping an individual discover if their online friend is who they really say they are. Most people are left disappointed as they find out that the guy they’ve been talking to for three years online is actually a girl whose life is completely different or vice-versa. Online dating has given these individuals the ability to be who they want and create a life different from their own. In most situations, the ability to distance our online identities from our actual identities is both important and appropriate but it also contributes to amount of deception on the internet. Online dating will continue to become more popular regardless, so as long as we are mindful of who we are presenting ourselves to be and who others claim to be then we will may thankfully never have our own horrible online dating story (just for your entertainment).