On Revamping Your Online Dating Profile

After a string of digital dating disasters, Amy Webb dug into the data, played around with her dating profile on Match.com and OKCupid.com, changed it, and soon went on her “last first date.” It sounds quite easy, but I think it took a lot of work. She provides some tips on revamping your dating profile in this interesting Wall Street Journal piece:

My profile was obviously attracting the wrong kind of man. After one particularly disastrous date—he casually dropped the fact that he was actually married—I decided to change my approach. Drawing on my background in data analysis, I set out to reverse engineer my profile. I outlined 10 male archetypes and created profiles for each of them on JDate. There was JewishDoc1000, the private-practice cardiologist who hated cruise-ship travel, and LawMan2346, an attorney who was very close to his family and a former national debate champion.

And here are Amy’s tips on attracting the right kind of person on your online dating profile:

• Use between three and five photos in your gallery. More photos can do some good, but after five, my analysis suggests, profiles pass a point of diminishing returns.

• Lead with your hobbies and activities, unless they require lots of description or explanation. So you can start with tennis, if that’s your thing, but not aikido—or worse, “I have a black belt in aikido.” (I actually do, and I put it on my profile at one point, which prompted some men to challenge me to a fight on the first date, which was as horrible and awkward as it sounds.)

• It’s really hard to be funny in print—especially if you’re naturally prone to sarcasm. I found that people who thought they were being funny in their profiles weren’t. Instead, they seemed angry or aloof.

Women: Don’t mention work, especially if your job is difficult to explain. You may have the most amazing career on the planet, but it can inadvertently intimidate someone looking at your profile. I realize this sounds horribly regressive, but during my experiment I found that women were attracted to men with high-profile careers, while the majority of men were turned off by powerful women.

• Women with curly hair are at a distinct disadvantage online. I have no idea whether men prefer blondes, but I can say definitively that most men prefer women with healthy, long, straight hair. If you have curls and feel comfortable (and look good) straightening your hair, give that a try.

These tips will appear in Amy Webb’s upcoming book, Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match.

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