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Day: October 3, 2012

How to write a good online dating profile

They say those who can’t, teach. Well I’m living proof boys and girls. I don’t have the chutzpah to pull off online dating very well however I can offer some advice on how to do it far better than I ever did. I know all the theory but putting it into practice in a different kettle of fish. I will give a quick overview of the online dating scene to give novices a bit of a heads up.

First of all men and women are different. I know people who want to talk about equality all the time don’t want to believe this but they are. Men send far more first messages than women. Women get so many messages that it is hard to reply to them all. Men pretty much have time to reply to every message they receive. Therefore women actually need to write the better profile because even though most guys will send them a message solely based on a photo they need to write the better profile because they need to sieve through the wheat and the chaff more.

I once spent 12 hours on an online dating website as a woman and boy was it an eye-opener experience. I felt that I would just flat out ignore so many of the messages and only those who had written a good opening message would get a response. However to write a good opening message you need something to go on so you do actually have to write a fair bit. Whilst researching for this blog post yesterday I came across the following two profiles and honestly this was all they said (along with a photo)

‘no weirdos thanks’

‘No bullshitters – Love dancin and bein wiv my friends love rub pop garage a bit of everything xx’

Now honestly what do either of those profiles give you to go on? The first one doesn’t want any weirdos so do you send a message saying, ‘Hey there, just saw your profile and saw you didn’t want a weirdo well you know what? I’m not a weirdo. It is like we were meant to be?’ and the latter doesn’t want any bullshitters (well who does?) and loves a ‘bit of everything’ well that’s great. This lady is actually rather good looking so she will get messages but the quality of them I fear are pretty awful.

So we need to talk about the positive stuff. Well yesterday whilst researching I came across the following profile and I’ll copy & paste and show you why I think it’s an excellent example of an online dating profile and why if I was still in the online dating game I’d be messaging this girl straight away:

Hi, I’m Jen and I very much enjoy watching silly comedy programmes such as Bad Education, The Inbetweeners, Friday Night Dinner etc. I could probably recite most of the words to every Friends episode – that surely doesn’t make me a proper grown up?! Sadly, irreverent comedy programmes are not part of the National Curriculum (yet – I must start that petition!) so I cannot use this knowledge as part of my job teaching the future generation. Nevertheless, I very much enjoy what I do and more often than not, a day in the classroom can be a bit like appearing in a sitcom!

But I can’t have you thinking that all I do is teach and watch TV. I have been known to watch DVDs too! However, when I’m not in the classroom or on the sofa, I do manage to make my way to the gym a few times a week – I am a big fan of Body Combat. I also venture into the kitchen fairly often where I very much enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. I recently made some blueberry and vanilla scones. If you play your cards right, I could be baking some for you – just promise me we don’t have to have the discussion on the correct way to pronounce ‘scone’?!

I would like to meet someone who is fun and friendly and maybe also knows the words to various Friends episodes – just in case there is ever a power cut and we had to make our own entertainment. I would also really like to meet someone who is interested in having a proper grown up relationship incorporating the use of bags for life!

Fan-bloody-tastic.

Let me show you why I think it’s an excellent profile. First of all I like the introduction of a name. The first couple of lines makes a little bit of a diss at herself about being a proper grown up. Quirky. She talks about her work and so we know quite a lot about her already. She’s a teacher and really likes comedy.

I love the ‘I have been known to watch DVDs too!’ line. The rest of that paragraph opens up some of her other interests. She likes to keep fit but also likes baking and shows us one of her specialities with a bit of a tease about baking for you (the reader/potential date) one day then adds in a line about the ‘scone debate’.

Lastly she tells us what she wants. A nice line about knowing lines to various Friends episodes but more importantly she is looking for a genuine grown up relationship. Brilliant all around. It gives you plenty of possibilities for opening gambits as you know several of her hobbies and what she wants. I’d be shocked if she wasn’t inundated with really good quality messages because she profile really opens itself up to getting good quality messages.

So to recap a good online dating profile should only be three paragraphs long. Three paragraphs is the perfect length. Show a bit of your personality along with some of your interests and then round off by telling the readers what you are looking for in a date/potential partner. Perfection. Remember the photograph(s) are important but the profile will open up the quality of people. If you have a hot picture you’ll get lots of messages. If you have a cracking profile you’ll still get lots of messages but it’ll be far easier to see straight away if the person writing to you has read it instead of just looking at the picture and it gives them many avenues to speak about.

A photo attracts a click and attracts a message but if you want a quality message a good profile is key. Show your personality and your interests. Throw in a spot of humour and what you are looking for and suddenly you have a first rate profile that should attract some excellent responses. It’s a shame I’ve given up online dating so I can’t contact the person whose profile I have used to underline how to write a good profile to see if she is getting good messages but still, trust me, she should be getting many interesting and thoughtful messages and hopefully soon she’ll be dating and happy in that grown up relationship she wants with ‘bags for life’.

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A blog about (Lib Dem) blogging – the debate continues…

Last year after the Lib Dem Voice Blogging Awards one or two people were unhappy about who won and who’d been shortlisted. This year it is the quality of the Lib Dem blogosphere that is in question. As we all look inwardly about what the point of blogging is – certainly with regards to a politico – I’ll lob my 2p worth into the fountain.

It all started with an excellent post by Lond Bonkers entitled ‘Time to Freshen Up the Lib Dem Blogging Awards‘ as he mused about the awards being too narrow. With the ‘Best Post’ award culled for whatever reason this year it basically meant that for established blogs there was only one available award and that was for the best overall blog. So it is harder for people to get recognised for their good blogging.

Stephen Tall who won the original awards back in the day (2006 is back in the day apparently). At the awarfs he spoke and said, ‘even to talk about blogs now seems almost retro with generating the buzz today. Blogging is bigger than it was all those years ago, but among Lib Dems it’s on the decline. At its peak there were 250+ Lib Dem bloggers. Today there are around 200 active Lib Dem blogs curated at Ryan Cullen’s aggregator.’

Now whilst it is true that not everyone has left the party it should be noted that membership has declined at a faster rate than active bloggers. The biggest concern for me this year wasn’t that the quality of blogs were down but that the quality of new blogs was down. In 2011 the shortlist for Best New Blog was fantastic but this year it was won by a blog with a collection of writers. Nothing wrong with that but a collection of writers will not develop a niche and a following. Blogging is primarily used as a place to express an opinion on a subject and unless you have your own one it is hard to get into a rhythm or a flow.

Why have we not seen a new crop of bloggers come through? My guess (and it is a guess) is that the lull is new bloggers is linked to the lull in new active members. If there are fewer new members then logically there would be fewer new bloggers. I think that seems relatively obvious. Some of the most established bloggers have deserted the party either for pastures new or because they just couldn’t stomach what Lib Dems were doing in government any more. That is of course their right but it has meant that a lot of the technical blogging looking at policy etc. has disappeared. Also some have had changes in their lives which mean they have no time to dedicate to blogging.

Blogging is often full of enthusiasm for a while until life circumstances change and that it withers and dies and Andrew Emmerson pointed out in his post on the subject. I will say I disagree with him that blogging is a dying art. I read many blogs. Most people will at least have a few blogs they read semi-regularly whether it be through links on social media or watching a feed or just going to the site every few days to see what new has been written.

There will always too be new bloggers coming up and established bloggers on the decline. That is the nature of the beast and the nature of life. Looking solely at the Lib Dem blogosphere it would be harsh to say it was on a terminal decline. Would it be nice if a few new faces started writing? Sure it would but you can never have enough new bloggers in the world but this is linked more to do with the party membership and lack of movement on the ‘incoming’ ledger than it does to blogging as a medium.

On the point of the awards. Do people blog to win awards? I don’t think they do. Do awards and recognition in the Golden Dozen stroke egos and enthuse people to write and blog more? Of course they do. Look we all have egos. Anyone who says they don’t have an ego is a liar. Some will need it stroked more than others but to some degree we all have one. We all work harder if someone tells us we are doing a good job in any form of life. That is human nature.

However having said that no-one starts out a blog to win an award. They start one to have a voice of their own in the maddening crowd that is the interwebs. I believe that quality of work will speak for itself and in time if you write enough good stuff people will find it and read it and keep coming back to read more. Views stroke the ego as much as awards do. Do the party need to do more to promote blogging and actively get people to blog more? I don’t think they do. Blogging has to be a personal passion and if you blog because you feel it is wanted or expected then the quality and longevity of the blogging will not be as high as those who just want to blog because they enjoy it. That is just what I think anyway.

Open up the blogging awards more is all well and good but if people are stopping blogging because they don’t feel that they are getting the love from the judging panel then I wonder if they truly enjoy blogging in the first place. Obviously I speak from a personal perspective (I’ve been told off for this before by other Lib Dem bloggers – apparently I shouldn’t go on what I feel or what I see but more on what the collective sees) but I blog because I enjoy it. Yes I love the views etc. but I once spent seven hours composing a 5,000+ word blog on feminism and not even fifty people read it. Did I stop blogging? No. I was just glad that I had written it.

So all in all the problems (if there are any) in the Lib Dem blogosphere is two-fold. Established bloggers have left the party and their expertise in technical policy blogging has disappeared and a lack of new people joining the party and in turn blogging. The deal with the blogging awards and the Golden Dozen for me isn’t a huge issue. Get more members and woo back the old guard and we’ll be fine.

PS: Richard Morris says it has been a miserable 24 hours for his blogging ego. I know it was tongue in cheek but he wrote a fantastic piece yesterday entitled ‘I’m starting a campaign to make the most democratic of all the party conferences…democratic‘ so he shouldn’t be too downbeat. Good blogging will always be noticed. Does that help stroke your ego Richard? ;o)

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.