Online Dating Profile: Mirror or Mask?
There are two kinds or levels of online dating profiles - those you create and those that are created about you. The first is composed of information you generate, the second is generated by the site.
Some basic information is surprisingly effective at generating a large number of initial matches. Studies carried out at the University of Chicago and elsewhere say pretty much the same thing: people tend to be attracted to others who are similar in age, income and general body type and appearance.
That may sound superficial, but it's about all anyone has to go on at first. So, while it's possible, even easy, to lie about yourself on your dating profile, honest basic information will get you farther, faster. After initial contact is made on the basis of reliable information, you and that other someone can start to get to know one another. Not having any false barriers to overcome, or uncomfortable explanations to give later will make that road much smoother.
The second type of profile, the one done about you, helps facilitate that first contact.
Many sites provide a questionnaire that probes you in depth. Sometimes, they are multiple-choice, other times they are more free form. In rare cases it's even a kind of psychological test. Some are fairly concrete, others will dig a little deeper to find out more about the real you. A few, select sites have some very sophisticated software, based on serious psychological research, that helps discover things about you even you didn't know.
That second profile is used to create a report that helps you and prospective contacts narrow choices. You learn more about your real interests and goals, and prospective partners have another tool to decide whether to invest the time to get to know you better. It can also be used for automated matching suggestions.
That extra clarity is one of the biggest benefits of Internet dating sites. After all, with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites, just meeting and exchanging information about people is very easy today. The Internet has evolved in the past 15-20 years since online dating sites were among the hottest thing going.
But online dating sites both specialize and go beyond those other sites. They allow for those who are specifically looking for a companion, or a possible deep romantic or long-term relationship, to find one another within the crowd. They also offer a deeper set of information about you and prospective partners that simple social networking sites can't offer.
Those two profiles can serve as a mask, to hide your real self from others. Or they can reveal you to potential soulmates, mirrors of you. The result depends on you.