If you’ve had your ear to the virtual ground, chances are you’ll have heard the rumour that 1 in 5 of us now find our significant others online.
Whatever we think of this statistic (or the research  that spat it out), the fact is that we are increasingly looking to the online world to satisfy our every need. And wherever you find human needs and behaviours, you’ll also find a psychologist rooting around in the data in a bid to decode it.
In fact, some psychologists have even started pinpointing certain online traits that identify those of us who are looking for love.
Social media love-in
In a recent study , a group of German researchers decided to take a look at the way in which we communicate our personal info on social networking sites. Now, it doesn’t take a scientist to know that some of us are more generous with our info online than others.
But what is interesting, is that the amount we choose to share can be strongly influenced by our relationship status.
In this particular case, the researchers looked at the profiles of 100 people on the German networking site StudiVZ, and analysed them for content. They found that the way in which people were presenting themselves virtually did indeed vary depending on their relationships status.
Singles are prolific and fun…
Singles seemed to join more groups and post more photos of themselves on their profiles than their non-single peers. They also made more fun and sexual comments, and their profiles tended to be more detailed. Which, if you’ve ever been single online, may all sound rather familiar.
What was perhaps unexpected, was that the people who had the highest number of wall posts and friends were those who didn’t reveal their relationship status at all… And whilst we tend to evaluate those with more friends more positively  (though the recent trend in un-friending may be signifying a sea-change), the psychologists didn’t speculate too much as to why it might be this group that seemed the most popular. I’m sure you can draw your own conclusions.
A closing note
Whilst we don’t all use social networking sites specifically for dating, the way in which we present ourselves online is nevertheless influenced by whether we’re single or not. So the next time you find yourself uploading all the flattering photos from your recent shindig, think about which category you fall into – and whether you fit the profile.
 Match.com and Chadwick Martin Bailey (2009 – 2010). Recent Trends: Online Dating.
 S. Winter, N. Haferkamp, Y. Stock & N. C. Krämer (2011). The Digital Quest for Love – The Role of Relationship Status in Self-Presentation on Social Networking Sites. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 5(2), article 3.
 S. T. Tong, B. Van der Heide, L. Langwell & J. B. Walther (2008). Too Much of a Good Thing? The Relationship between Number of Friends and Interpersonal Impressions on Facebook. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13, 531–549.