When you go on Facebook or LinkedIn, you expect that your friends, family members and colleagues are being honest about their digital identity. When you create your Whitepages listing, you fill in your name, address and phone number, but you can also link to your social networks to provide a more complete portrait of your digital self.
But the funny thing about the Internet is that it does allow for some smoke and mirrors, to an extent. Apparently, it tends to be less offensive than outright deception in face-to-face encounters. Where’s the proof? Medical News Today highlighted a recent study conducted by University of Connecticut researchers who looked at the impact of “beautifying” pictures on an online dating site.
Forces of Attraction or Deception?
It’s become almost automatic to provide a picture of yourself when you sign up for social networks, but nowhere is your “selfie” more important when you’re looking for love online. When you’re trying to make a match, your visual perceptions often takes the front seat. But anyone who’s scanned the tabloids waiting in line at the grocery store knows how amazing Photoshop is at making celebrities look otherworldly, for better or for worse. With online dating sites, photos are among several variables that others use to make judgments about your date-worthiness.
What does your profile picture tell others about you?
The University of Connecticut researchers found that enhanced photos – including lighting, makeup and hair styling – had an impact on both men and women. In fact, women rated men with digitally altered profile pictures as more attractive and trustworthy. Men also indicated the enhanced pictures were more attractive, but, on the other hand, they expressed less trust in the potential dates.
Although this study’s insight is limited to online dating in a practical sense, there are bigger issues relating to digital identities that you can see. Like our real-world relationships, we have a great deal of influence over the way people perceive you. If the world is a stage, the Web is something more like a diorama of various stages of your life. You can foster real relationships and connect with people online, and creating a coherent, trustworthy identity is incredibly important.
Developing a complete portrait A 2011 study about digital identity completed by researchers at the University of Salford in the U.K. underlined the fact that our digital identities are largely fragmentary. Why? Unless you make an effort to align your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles, these will likely provide snapshots of your complete identity.
At Whitepages, we believe in the good that data can do when it’s used for the benefit of others. When you create your online profile, you should ask yourself a few questions:
- What role does trust play in creating your online identity?
- How do you want people to perceive you?
- What do you value does your digital identity have for you and others?
The beauty of Whitepages is that it helps you create an accurate digital self-portrait, which builds a Web experience based on trust and transparency. Whether people are trying to contact you or you want to reach out to someone else, honesty will always get you started out on the right foot.