Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's Complicated: Dating and Relationships in the Digital Age | SMW NYC

On the morning of Wednesday, February 20, I got to immerse myself in a discussion on the world of online dating. Some of the industry's key players and speakers came together at the Hearst Tower for a panel moderated by Joyce Chang (@joycemarg), Executive Editor of Cosmopolitan. It was such a great group of people, with very distinct points of view that made it incredibly interesting and entertaining.

Sam Yagan, Co-Founder and CEO, OkCupid@samyagan
Brian Schechter, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, How About We@BSchech
Rachel Pasqua, VP, Mobile, iCrossing@rachelpasqua
E. Jean Carroll, Author of Ask E. Jean, the longest currently-running advice column in American Publishing; Co-founder of

What's the biggest challenge in online dating?

Rachel Pasqua: I think for the consumers, it's weeding through the false advertising. If you think about it, digital dating is a lot like digital advertising in that you can really create whatever image you want of yourself, whatever you want people to perceive. You can build yourself up, you can make yourself seem more this or less that in a way that you really couldn't really pull off in the offline dating world.

"People tend to gravitate towards people like them in general." - Brian Schechter 

Tips from E. Jean Carroll

"The minute you decide this is the one, what happens? It's over. Because you start acting like he's the one and as soon as you start acting like he's the one, you start to lose that sexy, enthralling thing you were doing at the beginning and then he loses interest and then you start to cling and then he loses more interest and then he's out the door. One of the biggest mistakes a man or woman can ever make is never to decide this is the one. Big mistake. Always leave your options open, even when you are married."

"The best place to meet a man is the men's washroom at a Knick's game."

"Do it all, online and off, because that's a fun way to live. You're only young once -- or you're only middle-aged once, thank god."

"The only reason we are on this earth is to enjoy as many lovers as we possibly can."

"My advice for guys is: Don't have a photograph of you and a fish. You know those guys who have a photo holding a damn fish. What are they thinking? Guys, don't put a picture of yourself with a goddamn fish."

Tips & facts from Sam Yagan:

"Offline dating is a lot of work. The average non-online dater goes on an average of 4 dates in a year. So whatever work you do when you're single looking for a date, that year of work results in 4 dates. The idea that online dating is work is a little bit of a red herring."

"People today are spending more time single than at any point in recorded human history."

"Whether you get to the first date by an online dating service, a match making service, meeting someone through a friend, once that first date happens, how you got there is irrelevant."


Tips from Sam Yagan on putting together your online dating profile:

1. If you want to look younger, don't use flash. Using flash adds seven years of age to your attractiveness. A 32-year-old who uses flash looks like a 39-year-old.

2. Online equivalent of bad breath is bad grammar. If you don't care enough about your profile to actually spell words preoperly and to use grammar, that's a message that you don't take yourself seriously and that you aren't taking dating seriously.

3. Be specific. If you say you like travel, that's not a point of commonality - who cares. If you like to go backpacking in developing countries and I like to backpack in developing countries, that makes for interesting conversation. Just saying travel is useless.

4. Use humour. Trying to make someone laugh early on is a good ice breaker.

5. In general, write longer profiles. Profiles that are more than 250 words generally get 30% more communication.

6. If you're in urban areas, talk about yourself more. If you're in rural areas, talk about what you want in a date more.

7. If you're in urban areas, you can be more negative, talk about what you don't like. If you think about New Yorkers, we bond over the things we hate.

8. Tip for guys writing that first message: If your first word is 'Hi' or 'Hello' you'll get 30% fewer responses than if your first word is 'Howdy' (or something along those lines). The idea is, if your first word is interesting, you're almost forced to write an interesting message.

9. Highlight what is different about you. Stand out, you don't want to be average.


It's pretty interesting stuff! And after that session, E. Jean Carroll is basically my new favourite person.

More SMW NYC coverage coming up.

- Christina
Follow my adventures on Twitter: @christinaaa28
All photos taken by me | Please contact for use

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