I’m not the typical “guy” who posts shirtless pictures of himself on dating sites or sends unsolicited pictures of his genitals to random women. But I am a guy who is fond of online dating sites, so I have a few tips that might help you when using them. Perhaps my perspective here might help you when seeking your next mate on there (or not).
I remember when MySpace was revolutionary. I turned 19 and I was good with finding and meeting prospective dates on there. You were defined by how cool your MySpace layout was – animated GIFs, custom CSS and your favorite embedded YouTube video. Very rarely was anything of substance shared there and more or less, everyone had the same opportunity to meet and connect with others. The interactions were unique because of the anonymity given by using MySpace. As history has it, when people defected from MySpace to Facebook, that online community became a dust town. Dating sites like OkCupid and Plenty of Fish (POF) became more popular.
After the fall of MySpace, I eventually created my OkCupid account. I really got into the quizzes that members could take. I answered a little over 1700 questions. OkCupid prides themselves on the ability to match people based on responses to their surveys. They have a decent algorithm as I found myself conversing with smart, funny and attractive women regularly. But, you see, I was an early adopter of OkCupid. There wasn’t much competition — that is, not many other guys were using it when I was.
Eventually as more and more men (late majority) joined the site, I observed two problems. First, was the women became less trusting, less open and much more selective in who they even talk to. Second, the number of dudes in shirtless photos and less engaging profiles shot way up. Decent guys who really were more descriptive in their profiles were pushed out by the overtly masculine “bros” that dominated the site. As a result, they destroyed the network of decent matches.
I don’t know of any other guys who actually took the surveys on there (like I did eagerly); I also know few women who took the surveys for more than a dozen questions. So, what I’m saying here is that dating online became tougher — the common denominator lowered and therefore interfered with the quality of matches I and others would receive.
While I have initially met my girlfriend on POF, she was not far from the top of my matches on my OkCupid. She maintained a similar-looking profile on both POF and OkCupid and her survey results were pretty indistinguishable from her views on life after we met. To my surprise, we both have felt frustration in online dating, specifically with these dating sites. I have seen the quality degrade over the years and the only people to blame are ourselves. More online dating information can be found in this interesting New York Times article.
Why ourselves? There hasn’t been a better time to join a dating site, share your interests, provide inputs about your views and find people with the right amount of balance in similar perspectives and differences. The data couldn’t be any better than the present. However, the majority of people using these sites do not use these features, so the accuracy of the data is weaker. Basically, the quality of these online dating sites is determined by the amount of activity and engagement we have on them. You can’t find a quality match only by uploading a photos and saying you like to “hang out with friends” for your hobbies. The richer the data; the richer the outcome.
In hindsight, I believe most of these tips applies equally to men as well. Ultimately, online dating depends on both the communal and each of our individual contributions we make. You get what you put in. If you take dating seriously and actually put some thought into it, it is possible that Mr. or Ms. right will come right along and discover you. Online dating is practice of consumption economics, except that there is a larger quantity of products. Dismiss that the reality that you’re dating online — you’re effectively reaching into a larger pool of partners instead of only the ones who show up at your local bar.
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