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Keywords:

  • Online dating;
  • articulated rhetorics;
  • presentational rhetorics;
  • interpersonal communication;
  • qualitative research;
  • values coding;
  • online self-presentation

Abstract

This manuscript compares presentational rhetorics in online personal advertisements to articulated rhetorics generated through interviewing sessions to understand rhetorics of online dating. Online self-presentation literature is reviewed and an argument for a rhetorical-epistemological approach to studies of online dating is presented. 30 online daters from a metropolitan region of the Midwestern United States (mostly white, aged 25–35, gender diverse) provided a copy of their online personal advertisement and participated in an interview. Personal advertisements and interview transcripts were analyzed separately using values coding to consider rhetorical dimensions. Results indicate ethos is a primary concern of online daters and limits what can be stated in online profiles. Discussion explores implications of articulated and presentational rhetorics as well as potential future studies.