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Olivier Zerbib

“Write me and you’ll tell you who you are”. Dating Sites and self- re-enchantment

Le Temps des médias n°19, Automne 2012, p. 66-86.


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Dating sites are of interest because they create relations between people via a set of standardized formats, and, at the same time, paradoxically, they allow users to express a form of creativity in how they present themselves and their exchanges with others. First, they enable us to observe how individuals use these formats to project their best possible image (so as to seduce the other). They also favour analysis of how communicative acts enable individuals work on self-improvement ; this is all the more likely to bear fruit in that it is publicized and contributes to a form of sociability, both intimate and distant. Like Oscar Wilde’s “Dorian Gray” (whose actions are influenced by the portrait which he is involved in drawing), users of dating sites produce stories about themselves that can become bear fruit by their very inclusion in electronic sociability. Apparently simplistic and reductionist in the treatment of an individual’s feelings in merely rational and utilitarian terms, dating sites do allow the development of new forms of reflexivity, and are not confined to the conventional and practical terms which are usually identified. When they seek to enter into a to a loving relationship, surfers on the web come to reflect not only on who and what they are and who indeed they are searching for but also on the resources at their disposal to convey their romantic feelings.

To quote this article : http://www.histoiredesmedias.com/Write-me-and-you-ll-tell-you-who.html

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