It is a strange thing to have grown up pre-tech and now live in a time where a great deal of my socializing happens virtually. It is almost impossible to not feel like something is lost; like I am an ad agency running different promotions for Different Versions of Sara:
LinkedIn Sara: Sara Young, MBA, entrepeneur and management guru
OKCupid Sara: Quirky Sara with a need to engage
Facebook Sara: Sara with the wonderful life
Etsy Sara: Creative Sara who likes to make somethings from nothings
Tinder Sara: Glutton for punishment Sara
I am many different people combined and jammed into one skinsuit, and can be of use in many different ways, it just depends on where you find me and who I am trying to reach.
Profiles represent us, but often, we do not put a whole lot of thought into what information we are compiling for the world to view. I have had some stunning moments of realization hit me after looking through one month of my Instagram feed (drinks, anyone?). Similarly I have been surprised to find how often certain people pop up on my facebook page.
Looking over each of my profiles, I am left with a question. I have created them in order to reach out to other people. I want to be seen, but a profile is just a glimpse really, a peep show, and the overall impression the audience is left with is false, because it is only what I wanted them to see. I wonder if the things that come up inadvertently on facebook and Instagram aren't a more real depiction of who I am than the images and words that I craft. I am a fan of the inadvertant. I adore the accidental epiphany, but do the things I do online paint a better picture of who I am than the profiles I create to represent me?
No matter how many profiles I build, or how many different websites I appear on, I am still just wanting to connect with people in the most basic and honest way that I can. I am a lure, I am bait, and I am waiting for a nibble. I am waiting for connection, which for me is in-person and face-to-face, where I can smell you up close. There is no way for me to communicate this in any profile that I write, and so when I take the chance to reach out to someone, it is scary, because in some ways, I am an imposter.
What does that mean for you? Well, I have been answering a lot of questions about on line profiles lately, and have come up with a pretty good list of what to do and not do for a dating profile. I am going to just list the do's, as the do not's include, "don't be negative," which seems somewhat oxymoronic to me.
- Instead of writing about what you like, write about what you think of things
- Post pictures that are not your ideal images; pics that are funny, pics that show you laughing or being goofy convey much more than a posed smile
- Write about where you have come from in a vague manner, and tie it to experiences you have which are common to others in your age range
- Write about the future with optimism
- Ask questions in your profile. It will entice readers to answer
- Post challenges. At the end of my OKC profile, I state that I want to meet someone who can make me laugh. It is awesome to get messages from people who are up for that challenge
- Use recent and accurate photos
- Be honest about your height and weight
- Use pics of you only, avoid group pics as much as possible
- Don't take any of it too seriously
Okay. The last one is a "do not", but it is the most important rule of all, because in the end, none of us are as perfect as we portray. We are all cracked, damaged or mangled in some way, and the more honest you can be about your particular cracks, the better. It is my preference to write profiles that show my quirks, my inconsistencies, my character defects.
Equally, I reach out to people who are open about who they are, or have pics that are not glamour shots. I know I want interesting, not beautiful, and I have found, for the most part, that those people want to find me too.
So look at your many profiles. Do they represent you in a way that entices? Or might they be too perfect? Too angry? Too unattainable? It is your challenge to be as real as possible in the virtual world; to bring some humanity to your profile, to infuse it with character.
You have the ability to truly share yourself, why not take a risk and go ahead and do that?