Your Online Persona

With online dating becoming more and more popular, a personal profile is ever-more important in making a first impression. We already know that a good picture makes a difference, but what about what you write about yourself?

The last thing you want to say is, “I don’t like talking about myself.” Everyone hopes you’re not egocentric, but to say something like this is a lazy attempt at false humility. I mean false because, although it’s a well-meaning statement, deep down you know it has nothing to do with talking about yourself and everything to do with putting your best foot forward.

It takes time and effort to decide how you want to present yourself, since there are many different ways to express yourself in writing. If you’re a talented or skilled writer, you could eloquently describe yourself Kerouac-style. But most people don’t want to read memoirs online. Some people make lists of adjectives to describe themselves, but they don’t always reveal personality. For example, I could say, “I’m confident.” But then when you meet me you think I’m obnoxious. Ultimately, however you decide to describe yourself, make it your goal to be transparent and show who you really are. Nobody wants to go face-to-face and be thrown off by an insincere description.

If you use a list, try to paint a picture for the reader that makes you unique. Adding something you like (or don’t like)– for example, an activity– will make the picture more clear. “Down-to-earth, quiet, warm, easygoing, who reads the paper at the corner café every Sunday morning.” The clearer an image you can provide, the more likely you will attract someone like-minded.

Don’t be afraid to mention something about you that you think people won’t like. What one person doesn’t like, another person does. “I don’t like small talk,” gives the reader a certain impression about your intelligence, or arrogance. Why attract people who won’t get along with you?

You can use statements about what you like to do to say a lot about yourself. For example: “My favorite thing to do at bars is walk up to complete strangers and ask them what they think about the price of milk.” I’m totally making this up, but if it were a real profile statement, it says a number of things. It indicates that I go to bars, and I probably drink. I can walk up to strangers and talk to them; I have confidence. Asking them about the price of milk, as silly as it is, shows that I like to have fun. Since it’s my favorite thing to do at bars, it tells you that I like using pickup lines and that I might not be very creative. It’s a dorky statement, but I think you get my point.

Probably the most popular and easiest thing to do in profiles is to say what you like or what interests you. But mention at least several things or be more specific. If “travel” is listed as your only interest, you’re not saying much, since a lot of people like travel. What kind of travel? Backpacking? Cruises? 747s? Hitchhiking? Luxury hotels? The more things you say you like, the more interesting you will be to the reader.

You don’t want to say things like, “I will make you laugh.” There’s a chance you won’t. But if you’re funny and can show your personality in your profile, you might make the reader laugh. “People say I’m funny,” will make the reader wonder, “What kind of people think you’re funny?” Rather, make fun of yourself. “I put my foot in my mouth at the worst times.”

Here are some questions to help you come up with ways to make your profile show who you are:

  • What gets you excited?
  • What is fun to you?
  • What do you enjoy most for leisure (besides sex, guys)?
  • What are your 3 best and 3 worst qualities?
  • How would you describe your personal style?
  • How do your friends see you?
  • What song, type of music, or band moves you most?
  • What makes you laugh, or cry?

The more specific you get in your profile, the clearer a picture you give about who you are, and the more approachable you will be. But be aware that saying too much might turn people away. I try to keep my descriptors down to no more than 12 qualities and sentences. That way, I provide a brief introduction while giving enough information for the reader to see me. I always write the most important things I want people to know about me, and I give a peek of my worst.

If you still have trouble coming up with an attractive profile, Evan Marc Katz has a service at e-cyrano.com where you can get your online profile a professional makeover. It’s a good way to get more people to respond to your profile if you’re willing to pay a fee.

In another blog, I’ll talk a bit about what you can tell about someone’s personality based on how they write their profiles and how you can make your personality shine.

One thought on “Your Online Persona”

  1. Thanks SO much for this WGK: this is EXACTLY what I needed!!! My girlfriends have been trying to get me to post an internet profile for the various dating sites, but I’ve been really hesitant about it. Most of my male buddies have responded vehemently to the idea of me dipping my big toe into the internet dating pool — which is a shame, since I was hoping they’d help me craft my schpiel.

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