Research on Internet dating could help Internet marketers. The study, conducted at Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, shows that people who use online dating sites attempt to present their real selves, rather than an idealised or false self. Earlier studies on the use of chat rooms showed that people who use these often invent false identities as part of some elaborate game; or they present their idealised version of themselves. However, the research into online dating shows that people present their “normal” self in these systems. They also progress more quickly to face to face meetings as a result of meeting online.

What this shows for Internet marketers is that there is a strong likelihood that your customers will be presenting themselves to you as they really are. In other words, you will be dealing with “real” people, not people hiding behind false identities and so on. That means they expect you to be “real” as well. Hiding yourself behind false or idealised identities can only spell trouble for Internet marketers. The morale behind this research? Be yourself!

Proceedings of the British Psychological Society, Vol 14, No 1, 2006, 9.

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