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.