The somewhat weird online dating features of the future.

“I am such a great guy. I’m fun, adventurous, and hilarious! Don’t believe it? Read my Ex-girlfriends’ testimonials below.” Sure sounds a little quirky, but this may be a good solution to the common dishonesty issues on online dating sites as suggested by Ellison, Heino, and Gibbs on their study Managing Impressions Online: Self-Presentation Processes in the Online Dating Environment (2006).

Some of the common lies told by online dating participants include their age, weight, height, figure, and income. Because of the privacy and anonymity of the web, nobody can actually say who tells tall tales and who doesn’t.

Aside from having “heartfelt testimonials” from exes and other online daters, the researchers from the study mentioned earlier suggest other equally effective tools that can be used by dating sites in the future to ensure honesty on participant profiles:

a. Use of Video Presentations. They say a picture can paint a thousand words but a video can definitely do more. There is no to very minimal lying about the age, weight, or figure when presenting self on a video. The problem, however, is that not everyone can be forced to record one and thus, this may be an unrealistic option.

b. Enabling User Rating Systems. If you think your ex (and your future ex) can give you a perfect 5.0 rating based on your honesty and outstanding BF / GF qualities, then you can probably use this feature to get propelled to fame as the next bachelor or bachelorette of the online dating world.

c. Built-in Social Network Visualization. Who has viewed who and how many times can be reflected on social network visualization tools such as graphs and statistical data analyzers. Aside from “popularity”, “most visited”, and “most contacted” stats, other data which can be included are: number of people currently connected to the person, frequency of visits, most eye-catching photos / videos, and so on.

Social Network Visualization is not an entirely new idea in online dating as it is used by dating site directories  to sort the most popular dating sites in certain categories making it easier for guests to decide which sites are more preferred by users.

The Conclusion

Many are still debating about the truthfulness of online dating participants’ self-descriptions and so the researchers suggested these honesty checks and measures. However, believe it or not, the results of this study by Ellison and others found out that, “the popular belief that online daters frequently and intentionally lie about their real self… is not entirely true”. In short, not everyone in online dating sites lie.