Step By Step

1. Choose a Service 2. Set Up an Account 3. Write Your ProfileThe Screen Name The Headline The Picture The Vitals The Essay 5. Respond...Or Don’t 6. The Email Dialogue 7. The Phone Call 8. The Date

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Step 3: Write Your Profile

Think of the profile as an advertisement for yourself. The purpose of an advertisement is to promote and differentiate a product. When an advertisement fails to make its product seem appealing or different from other products, the product doesn’t sell. On the other hand, when an advertisement misrepresents its product, people might buy it, but when they realize that it wasn’t what they were looking for, they’ll return it. Your profile must navigate the tension between these same three objectives: differentiation, promotion , and accuracy. There are things you can do to differentiate your profile, like posting outlandish pictures of yourself, but such a tactic may detract from your profile’s appeal. There are ways that you can increase your profile’s appeal, like misrepresenting your height, weight, and age, but if you exaggerate too much, you won’t get any second dates. On the other hand, you can also post too much information. We all have our warts; you don’t have to show photos of them. (I’m speaking figuratively, here.)

If you’re serious about trying to get something out of e-dating, put some thought into your profile. You’ll get more posts from more desirable people, which increases your odds in the dating gamble. Putting up a shoddy profile is like going to party without taking a shower. You may save some time by going straight from the gym, but you’re not going to attract any winners when you get there. So take some new pictures, write a few drafts of your profile, have your friends edit it, and for God’s sake, check your spelling. Nothing shouts “I’m stupid” like a mercilessly misspelled profile. Just write answers to the questions in Microsoft Word, run a spell check, fix the errors, and copy the text into the web site. It’s not that hard. [Readers: Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you find grammatical errors in this website.]

Finally,write out your profile before you sign up for your service. Most people search by recent memberships; they want to see the new blood, not the same old profiles. More people will view your profile in the first week of your membership than in any other week afterward (see Maximizing Your Visibility). So if you want to make the most of your opportunities, ensure that your profile is hot when you come out of the starting gate. You can find out the questions that you need to answer before joining a service by viewing the profiles of existing members.

For more detailed advice on how to handle specific aspects of writing a profile, check out the following sections: