With technology becoming more and more relevant in every aspect of our lives, online dating sites are gaining more members every day. There are now more than 40 million users of online dating in the United States alone. Thanks to the integration of technology and the internet into our lives, the online dating business now possesses an annual revenue greater than one billion dollars (1). Some say dating is a numbers game, but many others feel that online dating provides ways of deception. Either way, online dating is providing a new way of communication and interaction online.
Since the initial stages of the relationship occur primarily behind keyboards, it is easier to portray yourself as someone you are not. This becomes especially useful to some in the dating world. Due to the fact that the person you are communicating with has most likely never met you in person, you have the opportunity to make a first impression without even making eye contact or speaking a syllable. Some of the most common lies are those centered on occupation and income, physical appearance, and age. While most of these deceptive actions may be slight exaggerations of the truth, the fact remains that the truest form of the person on the other side of your messages is not being seen. For instance, when someone might say one thing in the heat of a verbal conversation, they may respond differently when given time to think about what they believe would help infatuate the other more. It could be argued that the use of lies stemming from using online dating creates relationships that are built on falsities.
Unlike the mystery that lies within the use of online dating, social media connects people that usually know each other to a certain extent. Therefore, users tend to show themselves differently on social media sites compared to dating sites, but many still attempt to portray a bettered version of themselves. I previously mentioned how occupation and physical appearance are two of the most common lies. When dealing with friends on social media, those you know in realms other than just the internet, those fabrications do not apply. Instead, social media is often used to not only share thoughts and moments with others, but also to try to make the user’s life more eventful or more exciting than it already is.
No matter what way one looks at the situation of self-representation online, the connections are not the same as those that occur in person. Whether that is a positive or negative change is an opinion based matter, but it is undeniable that there is a difference. Online dating sees those involved attempt to show others an enhanced version of themselves. At the same time, social media users tend to show an enhanced version of their personal lives. As times change and internet communications evolve into a larger part of our lives, self-representation online is becoming a more prevalent fixture in society. More than ever, we control how others see us, at least in the virtual world of the internet.
(1) “Online Dating Statistics.”Statistic Brain. 11 Feb. 2015. <http://www.statisticbrain.com/online-dating-statistics/>