Over the past decade, the online dating boom has shattered the rules of the dating game. In an age where romance can be determined by the swipe of a finger, what do the most popular online daters know that other users don’t?
Turns out, a lot.
Jessica, 26, who asked that her last name not be used, is one of the most popular people on OKCupid, meaning she is one of a handful of people who get more messages than nearly all of the dating website’s 11 million active users.
Jessica joined OKCupid when she moved to Los Angeles two years ago and was newly single.
“So I was like, ‘I'm just going go out with everybody who asks me,’ so I just went on this serial dating spree,” she said. “And as I really got to know what I liked and what I didn't like, I started to cut down my profile to make it more about me and putting myself out there so that I was attracting the right guy, as opposed to just casting this huge net.”
But that plan actually backfired. Instead of narrowing her dating pool, Jessica is now inundated with messages from men on OKCupid, as many as 700 a week. But she believes it’s been a success and credits the huge influxes in interest to making her profile stand out from the norm.
And as it turns out, Jessica has somewhat of an edge over other users. She works as a professional dating coach for men.
She offered these tips to help other users revamp their online dating profiles and make their experiences better.
|No to Selfies and Flash, Yes to Full Body Shots|
Jessica said girls want to see what potential dates look like in real life.
“We want a better picture of what you really look like in your everyday life, so why don't you just show us,” she said. “We don't like being surprised so make sure you have full body shots and what you actually look like.”
Sean Patrick Henry, a developer with OKCupid who is part of a team of online dating experts that know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to snagging dates through their site, agreed with this.
“Full body shots are definitely good,” Henry said. “It also shows off your personality, it shows your legs, your height, it shows off your fashion sense ... and smiling is always really good for photos.”
Good photos are critical, he added, but resist using flash.
“We found that photos with flash actually add on, on average, six years to your perceivable age,” Henry said.
|Write Captions on Your Photos|
Yes, like actual captions that explain what the picture is showing, where it was taken and why.
“Instead of, ‘Me and Mom,’ or ‘Me and my niece,’ write what you're actually saying in that picture,” Jessica said. “This goes back to us being able to picture us in your life with you.”
|Don’t Just List Adjectives on Your Profile|
“Anybody can say, ‘I'm funny. I'm neat. I have goals,’ ... give us a better picture,” Jessica said. “Maybe you play the piano every day or maybe you do stand-up comedy and you only talk about your mom. Whatever it is, show us what sets you apart from other guys.”
Henry also added that the more details users provide on their profiles, the easier it is for OKCupid to make matches happen.
“One of the things people use are search filters through these specific details,” he said. “So if you go ahead and put ethnicity, body type, diet -- some of these things. You don’t necessarily have to do all of them. You’ll automatically be found by people who want to find that.”
|When You Send a Message, Make it Personal|
When messaging a potential date, Jessica said it’s good to keep in mind that you’re probably not the only suitor in her OKCupid inbox.
“So when you do message her, make sure the very first thing you say is catered to her,” she said. “Otherwise, you're just going to get lost in that sea of messages.”
Henry suggested starting with an open-ended question, or list your interests, to get the conversation started.
“If you get a lot of messages like ‘hey’, ‘sup’, ‘hi there,’ well, if you put more things in your profile that can lead to a conversation, then you have something to talk about. Because maybe the guys are reading this and they find you attractive, you match a lot of things -- they saw “Harry Met Sally” -- but they don’t know what to talk about,” he said.
|Just Ask Him or Her Out Already|
“The point of online dating is to get offline,” Jessica said. “It's not to get to know somebody better. It's not to have a long, lengthy conversation. It's to see if you could vibe, see if you guys can connect on basic things and then go out on dates.”