Today, I’m a happily married woman, but just a few years ago, I was what my friends and I lovingly referred to as a “professional dater.” I tried Match, I tried eHarmony, I even tried JDate, and I’m not even Jewish. Offline, I did It’s Just Lunch and went on every fix-up I was offered. Dating became a hobby for me, sometimes even more so than a plight to find an actual relationship. Luckily, about a year and a half into my “professional dating” stint, I decided to quit cold turkey and low and behold during that quitting time, met my husband.
But even now, when I hear friends or coworkers talk about their own online dating laments, I feel somewhat qualified to give my advice given my experience in the field. My experience, though, is nothing compared to that of Amy Webb whose recently Wall Street Journal article “Hacking the Hyperlinked Heart” is circling the internet and gaining huge acclaim.
Amy was much like me – she’s “done it all” when it came to dating, and instead of quitting like I did, she decided to “hack” the process. She created profiles posing as men and watched and listened to the patterns women exhibited on these sites. Here are just a few of the gems Amy discovered in her research:
• Use between three and five photos in your gallery. More photos can do some good, but after five, my analysis suggests, profiles pass a point of diminishing returns.
• Lead with your hobbies and activities, unless they require lots of description or explanation. So you can start with tennis, if that’s your thing, but not aikido—or worse, “I have a black belt in aikido.” (I actually do, and I put it on my profile at one point, which prompted some men to challenge me to a fight on the first date, which was as horrible and awkward as it sounds.)
• It’s really hard to be funny in print—especially if you’re naturally prone to sarcasm. I found that people who thought they were being funny in their profiles weren’t. Instead, they seemed angry or aloof.