Love online

Have you ever thought of trying to find love online? If you have then you are not alone. At the moment there are around 1.5 million profiles for people on dating sites in Australia, that number is estimated to grow to 2 million by the year 2020, and by all reports Australia is behind places like Europe in seeking love in the cybersphere. This column has previously reported research showing that relationships that start online tend not to do as well as relationships that begin in the “real” world but that doesn’t stop people and it doesn’t mean that finding love online can’t work. Of course, it can only work if you get people to respond to your profile in the first place and a new report has analysed what works in that online space.

For the new study the researchers from the Queen Mary University of London analysed almost 4,000 separate studies that investigated the art of attraction and persuasion. As a result of this extensive analysis they came up with some elements that are most likely to get a first date online.

First they found that choosing a screen name with letters in the first half of the alphabet is more likely to succeed. For whatever reasons, people associate names beginning with letters higher in the alphabet with greater success and search engines also sort alphabetically. People are also more likely to respond to people with fun user names and avoid names associated with negativity like “Little”. Maybe you could try a name like “Aardvark-tonsils” and see how things go?

It goes without saying that having an attractive profile picture will be more likely to elicit responses but the researchers dug a little deeper than that. They found that people are more likely to respond to profile pictures featuring a genuine smile that crinkles the eyes and if the head is slightly tilted. Men were also more attracted if women wear red in the picture while women respond well to men in group photos especially if other women are smiling at the man.

As far as your introductory paragraph or headline message goes, the researchers advise that you don’t use complex words in an attempt to sound intelligent. By doing that you actually seem like a prat who is trying to sound intelligent. Simple language is more easily processed and is therefore more attractive.

In real life anyone who says the words , “I have a really good sense of humour” is signalling the fact that they actually have the wit and personality of a small, unwashed, potato; and the same holds true online. If you have a sense of humour, then show it in what you have to say, don’t just declare it.

So “onliners”, there you have it, four simple rules for getting a date online…although once you have snared the online-ee with your cleverly baited hook, keeping them on the line is up to you.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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