So far in our Online Dating series, we’ve talked about how to write your profile, highlighted some general tips to keep in mind and picked the expert brain of a psychologist. For today’s final interview, Erika Moore, an online dating coach and profile writer, gives us the inside scoop on online etiquette, including the importance of storytelling when creating your profile. Take it away, Erika…
Making an online profile seems so easy, yet why does it seem so hard to get it ‘just right’?
It’s a challenge to sell yourself without sounding like a braggart. It’s too easy to sound like everybody else. A lot of people don’t like to write, nor is it a strong point.
What are your top tips for a great online profile?
*Post a great, representative photograph — current, full face, smiling. It is impossible to overstate the importance of the visual. Period. So no excuses on this one. I don’t care if you’re world famous, shy or in the grips of a Greta Garbo fixation. Just do it; otherwise, no one will even look.
*Invent a descriptive, catchy, memorable username (no meaningless combinations of letters and numbers please).
*Spend time crafting an attention-grabbing headline, free of clichés.
*Use humor whenever possible, or at least keep it light-hearted.
*Tell stories (or give examples) instead of making lists. Instead of “I’m funny,” say “I’m told my Chris Rock imitation is flawless.” Better yet, DEMONSTRATE that you’re funny by BEING funny in the profile.
*Spend some space talking about the kind of person you’d like to meet. People love to read, hear, talk about themselves, even in theory. Help a potential match see that he or she might be the one for you.
*Leave out the stuff about your jerk of an ex, and why you think online dating is so lame or any other negativity.
*Nix the list of what you don’t want (“Users and cheapskates need not apply.”) — it’s fine to indicate you’d like to meet someone who’s generous and solvent.
*Leave out the list of specific physical attributes you require in a partner (it’s fine to talk about good chemistry). Basically, the less rigid your agenda, on any front, the more appealing and approachable you’ll seem, and be.
*Spell check! It matters — women in particular have a tendency to equate grammatical and typographical ineptitude with dumb. I have watched people pass up rocket scientists who didn’t bother to proofread.
What will/won’t get your profile too many views?
The photo, the photo, the photo, the photo, the photo. When you’re talking about just getting people to LOOK, it’s the sparkling eyes and the great smile that take the day. Online is a visual medium.
What are some strange things you’ve seen people put in their profile?
Essentially nothing, or “They said I needed 200 characters to fill this screen.” Stream of consciousness monologues. Bad poetry.
What should you be wary of when looking at someone else’s profile? What are the ‘red flags’?
Currently Separated status. Of course, there are legitimate reasons, and I applaud the honesty, but when there’s still another partner in the picture, even one on the way out, you can get caught in the crossfire. Proceed with caution. Photos that look ancient (haven’t seen that hairstyle since the late ’70s) and/or that are difficult to see. Graphic talk about sex and/or “sensuality” (often code for “this is all about sex for me”). Lists of specific physical requirements (seeking Kate Moss look-a-like; looking for size 4 brown-eyed blonde — you get the picture).
Thanks so much, Erika, and to all the experts in this series. What other relationship topics would you like to see in The Science of Love, friends? Let me know in the comments!! xoxo
[Photos via We Heart It]