Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Social Dating Adventures: Part 1

My Facebook friends would know all about this because I admonish people enough about it. So you put up a profile photo - it's nice looking, a full head shot of you looking relaxed and a bit cute. You maybe trawl the FBsphere commenting on notes, on friends' statuses or photos and their friends follow suit and oh, someone notices the comment above theirs, notices the profile photo and thinks, "wow, that girl is hot" and they click on your photo, get your abridged profile, because you know about privacy settings, and then send you a Friend Request.
If you're looking for a date online, this may work for you. If not, it becomes annoying. (I am annoyed)
But more and more people are using social media for dating. It's no longer merely online dating, but social  dating and I decided to do a social experiment this weekend with the new tools. So I did a search for "facebook dating" and got 5 recommendations
  • Zoosk
  • Are you Interested?
  • Flirt Wall
  • Best Match
  • Most Eligible Single
After the first 2 experiments, I did not even bother with the last 3, but I added the apps for the first 2 and created profiles.
Zoosk allows you to connect with people in your local neighbourhood, up to 160km/miles away (I forget), so this meant I was going to be matched up with Trini men. It allows you to add ice breaker questions, which you can ask your prospective "date" to gauge whether you have anything in common. Being as anal as I am, I had 25 ice breaker questions, but this was supposed to be an experiment, right? In less than 5 minutes, I had 5 notes in my Zooskbox, 10 views. I thought, "damn, there are some SERIOUS people out there". Not many of these dudes seemed to be capable of starting a conversation or doing much beyond sending winks. But there was one dude who answered every single question and clearly showed he was interested. Sadly, I was not. I noticed a few of my friends also used the application, though how actively I am not sure. In any event, by the next day, I had deleted my account and removed the application because the bevy of strange looking men winking at me (including the 63 yr old grandfather from Arima) was too much for my senses. "Co-founder Shayan Zadeh said that the site's platform is the digital equivalent of going out to a bar with friends and meeting new people." And he's not lying. It's the same sort of thing, just without the smoke, loud music and consistent leering. So don't let anyone dissuade you from trying it cause in actuality, it is not that much different to meeting someone in real life!

The other application, "Are You Interested?" was more of a meat market than the first. Where Zoosk opens you up to local men, this one opened you up to the universe. So again, in less than 5 minutes I had 28 Likes from men as far as Israel and Finland. This one was not as "social" or I should say you had to fork out money to be social, so you could not send notes or even read notes unless you paid. This one survived for about 5 hours before it was deleted and removed.
So while it may not be for everybody, social dating is real. And not only is it real, but the person next to you in the taxi or in the next cubicle may be a social dater. The days of online romantic interactions being a joke, or for the lonely and desperate seem to be long gone. Now with social media networks, it really has become an extension of what you do everyday anyway, just with a purpose - pimping yourself out for love. Pretty much as I wrote yesterday about pimping yourself out for a job, many people are using social media to find that special someone and creating a personal brand that they hope would be appealling and attractive to a potential mate. I have friends who have met their husbands via online dating. Social media just increases the odds for the romantic at heart, with greater visibility and opportunity to find THE ONE. So though you may not know it or never really thought about it this way, online or social dating is pretty much creating and strengthening your personal brand, engaging your "customers" who in this case are your dating pool to get best results! You marketer, you!
Some people are also using social media to do other things - some less savoury than others. I know some of you know about these.
  • You meet a guy, you think he's cute, you get home and what do you do? You know the answer! You go search for him on Facebook. Maybe it you're really serious, you send him a friend request hoping he will accept it.
  • You use the newly discovered Facebook profile to stalk this person - find out where he is working, look at his photos, see who he hangs out with, what he did this weekend etc
  • You check out what your ex is doing now and stew in your angry juices because he is tagged in photos with other girls, looking very happy too I might add.
  • You wonder why your co-worker's status says "In a Relationship" while her boyfriend's says "Single".
  • You update your status or send tweets which should not be out there in the public domain in the first place, denigrating the girl you think is with your boyfriend, or the ex.
The implications of social media and dating are endless and just way too much to discuss, but here is a great post on rules for social media dating. It was hilarious and sadly, I know people who break these rules. 
So anyway, I thought I would just take a load off and delve into this exciting new world of romantic interactions via new media. This one I may try this weekend, if time permits, and post my review next week (you know I love a good review). But technology is just taking us places we never knew we could go, isn't it? It's both amusing and intriguing. I hope you guys would try some of them out too and let me know what you thought.

Here is a great article about social dating and an interview with a guy who found his love via new media.


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