Looking for potential dates online is now one of the most commonly chosen ways of finding a match, and while it doesn’t offer the same tailored experience as using a professional matchmaker, it can be a good way to see what the dating pool where you are looks like!
There are a lot of online dating sites that all come with different selling points. Sites that are free can be good because they tend to have the most people on them, but paid sites can ensure you are only spending time engaging with real people who are serious about finding a match, rather than people treating the whole thing more casually. There are also niche dating sites that can allow you to meet singles with similar religious beliefs or political views to you, or for people with specific tastes (for instance sites for older women looking to meet younger men, and so on).
Your Online Dating Profile
When you join an online dating site, however, you are creating a new visible profile for yourself online, and it may well be that you do not want any overlap between this and the rest of your online presence. You may not want people you are connected with on sites like Facebook or LinkedIn to know you are on a dating site, and equally, you may not want dating site users to be able to find out things about your identity, like where you work. There are scammers on these sites, and of course, nobody really wants someone they have only just started seeing to know everything about them!
Keeping Your Privacy
When you create your online dating profile, it is important that it doesn’t link you in any way to any other online records of your life. It should be obvious not to use your real name, but a screen name instead, however you should also choose a screen name you haven’t used on any other sites, so that other users can’t find you on Reddit, for instance, or on forums related to your interests and activities.
Your photos can also be a privacy risk. While you do of course want to post photos on your dating profile that show what you look like, only use photos you haven’t used anywhere else. This is because it is simple to search for other places where that image appears – all you have to do is paste it into a Google search (not everybody knows this, but it works). If your dating profile picture is also on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, then it will be easy for people to find out more than you want them to.
Be sure also that while you are putting yourself out there online, you take extra care with things like secure data backups and encryption, just in case the site you are using is unfortunately the victim of a hacking attack. This is especially important if using a paid site where you have supplied your payment details, real name and other identity information at the back end.
Staying safe online can be daunting, but remember why you’re doing this. You just might connect with your soul mate, and don’t forget to have fun in the process!