Language: A gender comparison of language use in online dating profiles

I am about to begin a study which investigates whether men and women use language differently on personal online dating profiles according to their age. I’m particularly interested in persuasive language and if there are any similarities that can be drawn between these profiles and the language techniques used in advertising, as essentially, they are creating an advertisement of themselves which aims to attract potential suitors.

There has been some research previously done (please see the bottom of post for links to this work) which found a high use in tentative words by men(1) and frameworks such as the ‘profile as promise'(2) where members are theorised to give permission for themselves and others to be flexible in the construction of their identity, drawing from past, present and future versions of themselves.

So, I plan to select 24 profiles at random from the mainstream site and make a gender comparison of member profiles aged 25, 35, 45 & 55 years (anonymous and equally distributed). I will be paying attention to any forms of persuasive language, the formality of their tone and representation of identity, observing whether men and women use any of this differently.

I will keep you updated about the results! 🙂

Quoted Background Sources:

1) Nagarajan, M., & Hearst, M. A. (2009) Proceedings of the Third International ICWSM Conference. Available at; [04/03/2012]

2) Ellison, N. B., Hanock, J. T. & Toma, C. L. (2011) Profile as promise: A framework for conceptualizing veracity in online dating selfpresentation. New media & society, 14(1), 45-62


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