After focusing so much on text messaging, I chose a different route with this assignment. Online dating is a way to find and build relationships on the internet with potential spouses. Wikipedia covers the topic of “Online Dating,” although they do not cover “Online Dating Profiles,” which I chose to research.
An online dating profile (ODP) is a profile that enables internet users or mobile phone carriers to upload personal information with the goal of meeting a potential suitor. Dating profiles are created via host sites, such as Match , eHarmony and Christian Mingle, that require users to join for a fee, prior to creating a profile. Only after a profile is created can users browse for desirable suitors. Dating profiles can be accessed by logging onto the internet or by downloading a corresponding mobile phone application on a smart phone .
Online dating has been gaining recognition since 2002, when it first grew popular . Today, with over 800 matchmaking sites to choose from, 40 million Americans have used an internet dating service. Of this 40 million, 20 million are members of eHarmony, while 15 million are members of Match , some of the most well-known dating sites.
The appeal of online dating is its convenience, exposing users to a large number of suitors. Since proximity is reduced with online dating, users are more likely to contact desirable mates because of a reduced sense of rejection. The sites also encourage elderly dating and enable users to work as his/her personal matchmaker.
Your Dating Profile
The purpose of a dating profile is to convey personality and lifestyle to potential suitors. Users “may be asked to reveal [their] age, sex, education, profession, number of children, religion, geographic location, sexual proclivities, drinking behavior, hobbies, income, ethnicity [and] drug use,” among other information. Each site varies in the amount of information requested from users, and it is held at the user’s discretion as to additional information provided and the accuracy of this information Many profiles enable users to write short blurbs about themselves, which is where personality is communicated further. Users are typically required to upload a recent photograph(s) to identify their profile.
The information provided on profiles, along with site-specific surveys, enable dating sites to match users with a list of potential suitors. Some dating sites require extensive questionnaires, such as eHarmony’s 400-question survey , while other sites require a simple set of questions.
A dating profile is accessible to all users within a host site. If a user wishes to create a profile on multiple host sites, he/she will pay separate fees for each site. A dating profile is only visible to users that chose the same host site and will be unreachable to internet users outside of this spectrum. Profile holders can search dating sites for specific characteristics and may choose to contact an individual based on their characteristics. The profile functions as a screening sheet for the qualities an individual possesses, enabling users to decide whether or not to contact someone based on information provided.
Information accuracy is vital with online dating, since the goal is to meet a compatible mate. Providing inaccurate information, such as outdated photographs or false occupational history, will paint an artificial picture to users. Although dating sites use various techniques to screen users, no singular method is sufficient in filtering fake profiles.
Online dating profiles enable users to personally determine which information is made public. Therefore, users can manipulate self-disclosure, which is defined as “any message about the self that an individual shares with another.” In attempts to be portrayed in a positive light, many users hide otherwise important information (losing a job, illegitimate children, drug/alcohol history, divorce, illness). At least 20 percent of online daters admit to deception , and the Pew Research Center & American Life Project found that 52 percent of online daters specifically report that users lie about their relationship status.
Since users are required to upload a recent photograph(s), images on matchmaking sites can also be altered. Perceived flaws such as short height for men or weight gain for women are often concealed.
Defamation to Character
All information exchanged via the internet can be shared, rediscovered and exchanged between large numbers of people. Any negative information could be detrimental to a user’s career, future relationships and overall persona. In order to avoid defamation, all public [and even private] information must be filtered and approved by the user. Exchanging risqué photographs and/or information with potential suitors, private or public, can be shared via the internet.
The Pew Research Center American Life Project found that 66 percent of internet users find that “online dating is a dangerous activity because it puts personal information on the internet.” According to project, the users most at risk are female users, elderly users, and users with low-income levels.
Austin-Oden, Deena, Aimee E. King, and Jeffrey M. Lohr. “Browsing for love in all the wrong places: does research show that Internet matchmaking is more successful than traditional dating?” Skeptic [Altadena, CA] 15.1 (2009): 48+. Academic OneFile. Web. 24 June 2013.
Bowen, Justin. “Match.com Is a Perfect Example of the Surprising Statistics of Online Dating Site Subscribers.” Http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/7/prweb9746924.htm. PR Web, 29 July 2012. Web. 21 June 2013.
“The Perils and Pitfalls of Online Dating: How to Protect Yourself.” Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. N.p., May 2013. Web. 21 June 2013. <https://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs37-online-dating.htm#personal-information>