Friday, November 6, 2009

Why exactly are you not on Facebook?

If you're doing online dating, you've already bought into the argument that you should be optimizing your chances. You're not doing it for the wild and carefree romance of the Internet, you're doing it to get dates.

So why on earth aren't you on Facebook?

I'll tell you why -- because you don't get it. Either you've heard the pejoratives about inane status updates, or you're under orders from your teenagers to stay off their turf, or you have this vague fear of being stalked by that creep from high school.

But here's the thing: you can use Facebook in whatever way works for you. You don't have to post any status at all if you don't want, and if you do, it doesn't have to be inane. You can tell your friends about important life changes rather than trips to the supermarket. You don't have to "friend" your teenagers, or they you, so there won't be any awkward communications. (Actually, a lot of people fear this sort of thing, only to be instantly friended by their teenagers; often all parties find it rewarding.) And that creep has moved on, or isn't online, or has matured and is perfectly pleasant, and if none of the above is true, you still don't have to friend him.

Since you get control over who your friends are and how much you post, there really isn't much downside. It's OK, really.

Now for the upside. You can find and reconnect with old friends, and actually make new ones. You can learn something about your friends. You can have fun. And for dating, you suddenly have a whole new world of networked singles to browse amongst.

You can have entire conversations with friends of friends who are commenting on the status updates of your shared friend. You can communicate with your friends to find likely candidates, and to get the lowdown on the suitability of same. And once you've friended them, you can vet them yourself. You can flirt, you can befriend, you can chat, and you can explore romantic opportunities in a non-commital way. It's not unlike the old-fashioned way, but again, you're using the Internet to increase your chances. By a lot.

As soon as you get a Facebook profile, you're closer to finding someone. You should still do online dating, and still have the antennae up for real-life singles in real-life situations. Use whatever opportunities you've got.

But by all means, get yourself on Facebook. You already have several friends who are on, and they can tell you how to use it. It's not that hard. And, who knows, maybe you'll enjoy reporting on that trip to the supermarket after all...