Does the profile pic still matter?

The right profile picture is usually critical to making a first impression on dating apps and websites — but during the pandemic, as many people are hesitant or unable to meet in person, profile pictures may take a bit of a backseat, says a Saskatchewan sociologist.

Normally, a connection through a dating app or site “starts more superficially and the photos are really important,” says Sarah Knudson, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Saskatchewan.

“But then it seems like we’ve moved this past year into a phase of dating where they kind of become more background than they were before.”

However, with restrictions easing up in Saskatchewan, a lot of people may be eager to put themselves back out there again this summer.

Saskatoon Morning host Leisha Grebinski talked with Knudson about the experiences of people dating during the pandemic and some of the challenges they may face going forward.

The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

How important are those profile pictures, those first impressions online — especially during the pandemic?

The ironic thing is on one hand, with online dating they’re super, super important, because people use online dating tools as a visual way of screening for what they’re looking for.

But … something else that’s been happening during the pandemic is a trend toward a lot of “slow dating,” where even though people might be using those pictures to make really quick decisions,…

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