"Here's me in a nutshell": the textual performance of self in male online dating profiles
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Online dating has fast become an acceptable avenue through which to pursue romantic partners in the United States. Approximately one it ten American internet-using adults--16 million people--have personally visited dating websites (Madden & Lenhart 2006). Previous literature about online dating relies primarily on self-reported online dating behaviors as data and focuses on the differences between computer mediated communication and face-to-face interactions. This study adds to previous scholarship by analyzing the textual content posted in the free-write sections of dating profiles on Match.com. My sample consists of Match.com profiles of 60 white males from medium-sized Midwest metropolitan areas who have never been married and who do not have children. Erving Goffman's theory the performance of self has only been applied to our face-to-face encounters. However, findings from this study indicate that in many cases certain face-to-face dating behaviors such as "Small Talk" are reproduced in textual content in online dating profiles. Applying the relevance of Goffman's theory of the performance of self to online textual exchanges suggests that the traditional and online dating behaviors can be quite similar regardless of whether they take place in physical or virtual space.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Literature review -- Methodology -- Findings -- Discussion and conclusions -- Appendix A. Examples of closed-ended questions -- Appendix B. My Complete Match.com Profile (screenshot)