Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Online Dating With OK Cupid: Questions and Answers

I don’t typically tailor my articles here to any specific dating site or organization. But anyone following my blog like a Bible (or even occasionally stumbling across it for a few laughs) will see periodic screen shots of actual conversations I have with other users on the distinitive blue and white online dating site. Obviously I am a regular user and advocate of OK Cupid.

It’s one of the few true “free” online dating sites. By “free” I mean that you don’t have to provide any payment to the site or any company to create a profile, contact other users, read/ send messages and use all their basic features.

A couple years ago when they were bought by the company that owns Match.com they added an “upgrade” option with additional perks and features (adding more photos, seeing who read your messages, additional levels of screening who contacts you, etc. ) for a fee. It is entirely possible though to have success with the site without it costing you anything more than your basic internet/ wifi fees.

I have also used POF (formerly known as Plenty of Fish) but I have found OK Cupid to be cleanest and classiest free online dating site and it comes with lot of free additional features. I think the amount of effort that OK Cupid encourages it’s users to put in, help weed out the people who are just looking for pictures of local potential mates and the option to say “let’s hook up”.

I particularly like the questions and multiple choice answer options about opinions, lifestyle choices and personal preferences that give you match percentages. The founders of Ok Cupid initial started the questions and then opened up site so that users could create their own questions. Sometime after the new owners of the site took over, they took away that option. Possibly the decided that of the thousands of questions already posed by users, there was never going to be any need for new ones to be added to the list. (I respectfully disagree, but whatever.)

In the on and off four years that I have been using the site, I have answered 1046 questions. If that seems like a lot to you, I should mention that I’ve viewed other users pages who have answered literally double that number. Talk about putting me to shame!

While I may be a female (as a rule women get more page views than men) and a decent looking one (no false modesty but also no inflated ego here) I have always had a standard of never posting any pictures of myself that are immodest as a way to get cheap attention. And by that I mean by wearing a swimming suit, showing off skin in the boob/ butt areas, wearing revealing clothing or posing in sexually provocative ways. (Well, there might have been one photo where I leaned over to get my entire body in the mirror I was using for the selfie shot…)

Either way, I’m not using “Look at me I’m HOT and horny” photos to attract attention. Nor am I in the most heavily searched age range (22-32) and YET, I pull in between 115 and 155 views a week. (I get more around the winter holidays, Valentine’s Day and the beginning of summer when people especially want some companionship.) And typically 1-10 messages a day. I’ve had a couple days stacked together where I didn’t get any mail, but it’s rare and I usually find it’s because my inbox is full. Oops. Sorry.  

I attribute most of that traffic to my taking the tests and answering questions. If you take the number of questions I have answered and divide it by the number of years I’ve been on the site, and then that number by the number of weeks in the year you get this. 1046/ 52=  20.1

That means that I answer about twenty questions a week. Not only do I answer the questions, I write a couple sentences with some comments about my answer. This not only gives a little insight into my thought process behind my answer, but it has opened countless doors for conversation by people who then write me to talk about my answers. And it works.

Every time you answer a question, the site puts your picture with a link to your page, and your response on the home search page of the opposite gender (or whatever demographic you said you want to be found by). This means that instead of your randomly being found by the people you want to look for you, you’re on their home page smiling out from the screen with your answer there tempting them to send you a message.  

The beautiful thing about the questions is that the answers are all your own opinions and preferences. That means aside from the few that ask things like “Which is larger: The sun or the Earth?” or ask Intelligence Test like questions, there are no wrong or right answers.

By answering the questions they also slowly build up a “personality” on the site about you. From time to time that data changes based upon your collective answers to reflect the overall picture of who you are presenting yourself to be. This is very helpful in showing you not only how you may look to others, but possibly guide you if you’re answering too many questions on the same topic that might make other users think you are only interested in one thing (sex, drugs, politics, whatever).  
This is my most recent personality list.

 The list is only created after a user has answered 100 questions. Obviously the more answers you give and by covering a variety of topics, it gives everyone a more well rounded view of who you are. When looking at a prospective date, I always check this.   

A guy may be concerned if his personality says something he might consider negative (like more arrogant or less experienced in love) but I consider it a bigger mark against them if they don't have a personalty profile at all. 

If you are new to online dating, I would recommend you forgo the paid sites and try a free one. Like OK Cupid (no, I’m not getting paid to say that.. I wish!).

If you are already an OK Cupid user, I would encourage you to regularly answer the questions and add a few comments in the section provided. Even if you don’t answer questions every day or ever week, when you do it will absolutely drive more traffic to your page. And isn’t that what online dating is about? Find someone and being found?

Answering questions (and reading the answers other people give on the main page) will help you cut through some of the challenges in this online game of find and seek. 

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you! Cheers!

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