Viewpoint: Dating Sites Still Don’t Get Social Networking
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
May 15 2012 02:26 PM ET
This week, Match.com got a bit more social. The country's most-subscribed-to dating service announced upcoming online games patterned after "Name That Tune" and "Pictionary," as well as social outings so users can meet prospects real life.
There's nothing wrong with these ideas — meet-ups and party icebreakers have been around for decades, if not centuries. But Match.com completely missed an opportunity to solve one of the biggest problems with online dating — getting to know what people are really like beyond their outdated profiles.
If Match made it easy for people to update their profiles using the same tools available with Facebook, Twitter and others, it would be a great way to show who these people really are.
As a former dating coach and writer of online profiles (yes, you can pay someone to write your profile), I've heard a lot of bad date stories. The most common? "I didn't recognize him (or her)!" And that wasn't because these mystery dates were better than expected — their photos were old.
Yes, after a certain age, we all wish we looked younger or slimmer or had a full head of hair, but attracting dates with old photos and expecting them to "not notice" when you meet is a recipe for disaster. Even if their manners keep them at the table for a full cup of coffee, don't count on a second date.
Deception aside, it's a lot of work to craft a great profile. People tend to "set it and forget it." We're so busy trying to keep up with the whirl of social media — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and others — few of us have time to update our Match profiles, as well.
Match.com and other dating sites could make it a lot easier for its members and eliminate the problem of out-of-date profiles. How? By partnering with social media sites. For instance, when you took a photo with Instagram , you could have the option to share it to your Match.com profile, as you already can with sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
This way, users wouldn't have to wait 24 hours for Match to approve your new photos. The risk of a "bad" photo posted on the site for a day before the Match monitors could remove it is a small price to pay for authenticity.
I understand people's concerns about privacy, especially when it comes to online dating. But letting members easily share a few of their current activities would be a good thing. If a member chose not to update their profile in such a convenient way, that would be a red flag for me.