May 19, 2013 | 05:35 PM (BD Time)
19 May, 2013 Sunday
Any website can be a dating site
Recently, a reader dropped the following query into our inbox:
"This may be a stupid question, but recently a friend told me he's heard of people using Facebook as a dating service. My FB friends and I (admittedly middle-aged) can't figure out how you "meet" people on Facebook. I (and most of my friends) are FB friends with people we actually know. How would one use Facebook as a dating site?"
Social media flirting is a phenom that has been around since the message board/chatroom days, when starry-eyed 13-year-olds and rheumy-eyed 61-year-olds traded "A/S/L?"s with optimistic abandon.
A quick survey of my social followers-on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram-revealed that, among my socially savvy circle of folks, people have dated/married suitors they met on MySpace, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare, MyYearBook, Yahoo Messenger and Usenet, to name a few.
In fact, this past week, the story of how one couple met on Words With Friends swept the blogosphere: Megan Lawless and Jasper Jasperse started playing the smartphone-based word game and were pitted against each other randomly. After talking via the game's "Chat" feature and later communicating on Skype and e-mail, the pair met in person, and, eventually married-Jasperse moving from his native Netherlands to Chicago to be with his bride.
While all of this may seem weird/creepy/slightly sad to anyone who didn't grow up a digital native, consider this: Americans now spend about a quarter of their online time using social networks. If you're giving your monitor the old glassy eyeball instead of tipping back highballs at your local TV-plastered sports bar, that's likely where you're going to make connections.
However, the actual process of meeting people via social media is still rather, well, creepy. (Less creepy than back in the days of message boards and AOL chatrooms, but creepy all the same.)
Assuming that you are not, in fact, a weirdo who collects spleens (we give you guys so much leeway on this factor), here are some tips on how to make any social media site a dating site without being a creep.
Compliment incessantly: You know that dude who staggers up to you at the bar, breathes whiskey into your face and murmurs, "Hey lady, you got mad cleavage, yo." He's creepy, right?
He's even kind of creepy when he goes a less aggressive route and compliments something benign, like your eyes ("You have lovely orbs... May I have them?"). Why? Because he's stating his intentions off the bat, and our society-addled by years and years of romantic comedy-viewage-prefers a bit of a chase.
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