Definitions

A few definitions will allow for clearer, more concise expression of the findings in this section.

Contact or conversation — A series of one or more private messages exchanged between two users during the studied period.

Initiator — The user who begins a conversation by contacting another user with an initial private message. Sometimes called "Person A."

Recipient — The user who receives an initial private message from another user and sometimes responds. Sometimes called "Person B."

Attribute

Username (online handle) Gender

Birth date or age Height

City, state, and postal code Build

Drinking habits

Smoking habits

Education level

How many children user has

How many children user wants

Martial status

Pets owned

Pets preferred

Attractiveness

Race

Relationship type sought Religion

Importance of age in a partner

Importance of height in a partner

Text self-description

Text preferences for partner

Con = continuous Buck = bucketed scale

Self Partner

Type

Free Cat Con Con Cat/Free Cat Cat Cat Cat Buck Buck Cat Cat Cat Buck Cat Cat Cat Buck Buck Free Free

Cat = categorical Free = free response

Table 2.1. Profile attributes specified by users about themselves and about potential partners

Figure 2.1. At top, geographic distribution of users of the Site under study. Users, each represented by a point, are plotted with the visualization tool developed for this project by latitude and longitude, resulting in a projection of the geography of the United States. Intensity of color indicates population density. At bottom, an overlay is added showing the communications between users. Brighter paths indicate communication between those locations by multiple pairs of users. Broader paths indicate greater numbers of messages exchanged by a dyad. This view shows regional and trans-national ties, but it is important to note that most communications take place across a distance of less than 20 miles. These visualizations were created using the visualization tool built for this project.

Figure 2.1. At top, geographic distribution of users of the Site under study. Users, each represented by a point, are plotted with the visualization tool developed for this project by latitude and longitude, resulting in a projection of the geography of the United States. Intensity of color indicates population density. At bottom, an overlay is added showing the communications between users. Brighter paths indicate communication between those locations by multiple pairs of users. Broader paths indicate greater numbers of messages exchanged by a dyad. This view shows regional and trans-national ties, but it is important to note that most communications take place across a distance of less than 20 miles. These visualizations were created using the visualization tool built for this project.

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