Make Your Profile More Dynamic

You tweet, post status updates and upload photos of your lunch these days. So why wouldn’t you give your online dating profile the same attention? We’ll explain why frequent updates equal dating success.

By Seth Wharton

he web is a dynamic, ever-changing medium that allows us to create an identity moment by moment. Social media makes it possible to embrace this immediacy. We can share what we feel and think right this second. We’ve gotten on board with Twitter, Facebook and the like, and yet we treat our dating profiles like ink-and-paper singles
This doesn’t mean crafting a whole new web identity.
ads. Our profiles sit there, static and untouched as last week’s newspaper. (They still make those, right?) Embracing change, though, may be the way to maximize the web’s potential in our dating life.

“People are conditioned to look for and to want movement and change — for better or worse. We’re hardwired for it,” says Ian Lurie, the president of Portent Interactive, a company that helps organizations develop a dynamic presence that reflects who they are and what they do. And dating, like business, can sometimes be a “survival of fittest” situation. “The monkey who saw the tiger moving in the brush survived,” says Lurie. “The one who missed it didn’t. I’m not being facetious — this drive for ever-evolving content goes to the heart of human instinct.”

It’s a jungle out there (to stretch this metaphor even thinner), and giving your presence — that is, your online dating profile — some motion helps you stand out. This doesn’t mean crafting a whole new web identity. It means revealing your off-line persona, your true self, more consistently online.

Social media and mobile web devices are the tools at our disposal to create a profile that generates attention (read: dates). But in the same way that owning a great camera doesn’t guarantee you’ll take a perfect photo, posting a profile once and never updating it won’t guarantee you’ll find dates. Profiles don’t update themselves, people do. You have to learn how to maximize both the tools and rules that are available to you when it comes to making a dynamic online presence.

“I don’t usually push for difference,” Lurie says. “I push my clients — individuals and organizations alike — to be honest and to play up their personalities. If you do that, you naturally differentiate yourself via your attitudes, your communication style and your tone.” Playing up your personality is often where people struggle, though, when crafting an online presence… especially when it comes to dating. But the Internet and all of its magical accompanying code and gadgetry is the perfect place for doing some marketing research.

Halle Kiefer is a 25-year-old comedian and writer in New York City whose romantic adventures are fodder for both her blog posts and stand-up routines. She wasted no time putting her social network to use when testing potential usernames for her dating profile. “I put [the username options] as my chat availability status one day,” Kiefer says. “I was putting it out there for the people on my Gmail chat list to see if they thought it seemed like a viable name.” The responses
People can get turned off by someone who comes on too strongly.
she got helped her pick a username, which is the first thing people see when they’re checking you out online. “I do think the right username is really important,” emphasizes Kiefer. “If I see a suggestive name or one has that has numbers in it (which to me implies unoriginality), it makes me less likely to respond.”

So it was a natural move for Kiefer to use her status as a testing ground for her profile content. You essentially have dozens of marketing research tools — whether it’s your chat tagline, your Twitter feed, or your Facebook status — available to help you create the best profile possible. Though, as Kiefer points out, it takes a measure of finesse to control such online testing. She hasn’t linked all of her various online identities, e.g., Facebook, dating profile, and blog, because, as she says, “I want to control who sees my information online.”

Just as Kiefer doesn’t want the people viewing her dating profile to get directed to her Facebook page and personal blog, she also doesn’t want to reveal her dating profile to her friends. But controlling and maintaining your online presence is easier than ever before with smartphones and other portable PDAs that give you wireless, unlimited Internet access virtually everywhere these days. By using the tools at your disposal, you can build a rich, dynamic presence that’s more likely to draw like-minded people to you. MatchMobile is one such tool for regularly updating your profile, turning it from a static dating resume into an expression of yourself, day by day. Log in and update your summary to reflect what you’re doing at the minute in a way that gives people a better idea of who you are. Simply put, give people a reason to return. “Entertain, teach, alert, rabble-rouse,” says Lurie. “Whatever you’re doing, you have to build traffic by demonstrating value.”

This doesn’t mean you have to post everything you do every moment of the day. Finding the balance between demonstrating your personality through regular, meaningful updates and excessive over-sharing is just like finding that balance in real life, when you’re on an actual date. People can get turned off by someone who comes on too strongly; the same is true about online updates. “You can definitely over-post and over-promote,” Lurie says. “If you’re making a conscious effort to tell the world every time you go get a coffee, guess what? You’re overdoing it.”

So update regularly, but do it thoughtfully, with a measured respect for the audience. Nobody cares if Foursquare has declared you the mayor of your favorite coffee shop, but people do care if your reflections on your own life are honest, well-written and informative. You’re not the only person struggling to define who you are when it comes to relationships and establishing your own online personal identity. People want to know what you think so they can understand who you are and, potentially, whether you’re compatible. It’s up to you to decide whether your dating profile deserves the same respect and attention you lavish on your daily lunch photo tweets — and really, doesn’t it?

Seth Wharton is a writer who lives in New York City with his wife of seven years and their two cats. In addition to doling out invaluable relationship guidance, he writes fiction.
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