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Interactants in online environments experience these same pressures and desires, but the greater control over self-presentational behavior in CMC allows individuals to manage their online interactions more strategically.
In recent years, the use of online dating or online personals services has evolved from a marginal to a mainstream social practice. In fact, the online personals category is one of the most lucrative forms of paid content on the web in the United States (Egan, 2003) and the online dating market is expected to reach 2 million in 2008 (Greenspan, 2003).
A commonly accepted understanding of identity presumes that there are multiple aspects of the self which are expressed or made salient in different contexts.
Higgins (1987) argues there are three domains of the self: the (attributes an individual ought to possess); discrepancies between one’s actual and ideal self are linked to feelings of dejection.
Qualitative data analysis suggests that participants attended to small cues online, mediated the tension between impression management pressures and the desire to present an authentic sense of self through tactics such as creating a profile that reflected their “ideal self,” and attempted to establish the veracity of their identity claims.
This study provides empirical support for Social Information Processing theory in a naturalistic context while offering insight into the complicated way in which “honesty” is enacted online.