Archive of ‘Communicating’ category

Son of a pitch!

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Before I went back to school, I was an ac­count ex­ec­u­tive at a newswire. My job was to ad­vise clients on their com­mu­ni­ca­tions strate­gies, which is more ac­cu­rate than sim­ply say­ing, “I sold stuff.” I was never the ag­gres­sive, Glengarry Glen Ross-type of sales­per­son; my skills lay in de­vel­op­ing re­la­tion­ships with my clients, un­der­stand­ing their needs and pro­vid­ing them with the right prod­uct or ser­vice. I made sure each pro­posal was per­son­al­ized and meant some­thing to my client. 

Now that I’m on the other side of the ta­ble, I like to be treated the same way. So imag­ine my cha­grin when I re­ceived this today:

ugh1

This is a life-size card­board cutout of a man named Dave, a VP from a mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions agency I won’t name.

I’m not a mar­ket­ing ex­pert by any means, but it doesn’t take one to know when a pitch hits the right spot. It must be cre­ative, tar­geted and en­gag­ing. Because your goal is to at­tract at­ten­tion and cre­ate enough in­ter­est to make your au­di­ence take ac­tion that will add to your ROI – visit your web­site, ask for a meeting, buy your product.

While Cardboard Dave cer­tainly at­tracted my (and my cowork­ers’) at­ten­tion and cre­ated in­ter­est, the ac­tion I took was prob­a­bly not what he had in mind. Case in point: Cardboard Dave un­der­went a Sharpie makeover.

Here is why I think Dave’s pitch failed:

  • There was no one wait­ing at the re­cep­tion desk to greet me and hand the pack­age to me per­son­ally - it was a ditch and run.
  • The pack­age was very large and bulky. I had to carry it up two flights of stairs to my desk and al­most knocked some­one over. Furthermore, my work­space is not very spa­cious so I don’t know where I’ll keep Cardboard Dave.
  • The only part of the pack­age with my name on it was the mail­ing la­bel on the wrap­per. There was no let­ter ad­dressed to me; all I got was a snazzy, em­bossed book­let placed in a slot where Cardboard Dave’s hands are. There is noth­ing per­sonal about it.
  • Cardboard Dave promises “favourable im­pres­sions” and “bet­ter re­call” of my organization’s mes­sage. It would have been more en­gag­ing if their spiel demon­strated some un­der­stand­ing of the ODA’s key mes­sages. And if they did some re­search, they would have known that while I do wield some in­flu­ence, I am not the decision-maker of my team.
  • There is a page in the book­let list­ing the as­so­ci­a­tions Dave’s com­pany has “been as­so­ci­ated with.” I’m a sucker for se­man­tics — has this or­ga­ni­za­tion ac­tu­ally worked for these as­so­ci­a­tions? I once do­nated money to the Canadian Cancer Society, so tech­ni­cally, I can say I was “as­so­ci­ated” with them.
  • The last page bears Dave’s sig­na­ture and in­for­ma­tion, and has an un­usual, if slightly creepy, closing:

I’d like to give you a call
In a cou­ple of days
To see what you think.

Or for pickup. : )  (I’m still try­ing to fig­ure out what THAT means.)

Overall, these are my im­me­di­ate impressions:

  • The com­pany must be do­ing well in this econ­omy to spend $200 for each card­board cutout and book­let, which is what I es­ti­mated the pack­age to cost. Are they go­ing to re­coup their print­ing costs through their fees? Because as­so­ci­a­tions are not-for-profit; we an­swer to our mem­bers and have to ac­count for every sin­gle cent we spend.
  • How many trees were felled to make Cardboard Dave?
  • Dave’s ego is so big (“How big is it?”), it can’t fit on a stan­dard busi­ness card.
  • It would have been more cost-effective, and a nicer touch, if 3D Dave had per­son­ally come to my of­fice and spoke to me di­rectly, in­stead of send­ing his card­board representative. Chances are he would have got­ten a meet­ing. Sometimes, tried and true tac­tics trump snazzy packaging.

I’ll give Dave points for cre­ativ­ity and chutz­pah. But like his one-dimensional coun­ter­part, this pitch has left me stiff.

What do you think?


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PR and on­line dat­ing: Part Three

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Ahoy hoy, my fel­low sin­gle­tons. This is the fi­nal in­stall­ment of my non-award win­ning se­ries on on­line dat­ing and PR. In this chap­ter, I con­clude with The Profile, the crème de la crème of your on­line dat­ing per­sona. Or, as per my brand anal­ogy, the Product. You’ve drawn in the po­ten­tial buyer (mate) with your logo (pic­ture) and your slo­gan (tagline) now it’s time to de­liver the goods (you).

Have you ever bought a prod­uct that had a great slo­gan, an ex­pen­sive ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign and a mas­sive amount of build-up be­hind it? A prod­uct that was so buzzed about that if it ever lived up to its hype it would be the BEST THING EVER INVENTED? If you have, how dis­ap­pointed were you? Take the iPhone. It holds 3,000,000 songs and you can ac­cess Facebook on it but it hasn’t com­pletely changed your life the way you thought it would, has it? It doesn’t give you next week’s lotto num­bers and you have to deal with Rogers support.

The les­son I’m try­ing to im­part here, per­haps un­suc­cess­fully (if an anal­ogy falls in the for­est and there’s no one around to get it, does it make a sound?), is: Be hon­est. Don’t make your­self out to be the great­est thing since sliced bread or the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine. Yes, you’re try­ing to dif­fer­en­ti­ate your­self from the com­pe­ti­tion but you al­ready of­fer some­thing that is unique and one-of-a-kind: you. There’s some­one for every­one, a good friend once told me, so your goal, grasshop­per, is to find your someone.

Take your time, do it right

I’ve been on a lot of dat­ing sites and I have never come across one with a time limit for cre­at­ing your profile. Why do so many read as if they’ve been writ­ten un­der duress? (“You have five min­utes to write your pro­file, Mr. Bond, or I’ll blow up London.”) Like good sex, writ­ing your pro­file takes time, pa­tience and skill. A nice bot­tle of Shiraz also helps.

  • Write your pro­file in Word.
  • Copy edit.
  • Spellcheck.
  • Copy edit again.
  • Send it to a friend for feed­back. (Note: you may risk laugh­ter and ridicule, so be care­ful which friend you send it to.)
  • Post it and watch the ladies flock to your profile.*

(*No money-back guarantee.)

A lit­tle help from my friends

Does this look familiar?

My friends say I’m handsome/smart/witty. ”

Of course they do — they’re your friends. If they don’t say things like that from time to time, you should con­sider get­ting new ones. But the thing about friends is their lack of ob­jec­tiv­ity. Oh sure, they’ll bring up em­bar­rass­ing mo­ments from your life and poke fun at your past mis­de­meanors (like how you used to pro­nounce David Bowie’s last name as Bao-wie - com­pletely hy­po­thet­i­cal, by the way). But when it comes to set­ting you up they will not hes­i­tate to make you sound like a great catch, if only to get you laid so you can stop whin­ing about how lonely you are.

So, re­frain from in­clud­ing any en­dorse­ments by your friends. (AND parents. God, those are the worst. I mean, what mother doesn’t be­lieve their child is the Second Coming? I read some­where that women ex­pe­ri­ence a type of chem­i­cal change to the brain af­ter giv­ing birth. This is to make them for­get how very, very painful child­birth was so they can fall com­pletely and ir­rev­o­ca­bly in love with their baby and not kill it out of re­venge. Or some­such, I’m just paraphrasing. )

Wow, what a big ego you have

It’s a thin line be­tween con­fi­dence and van­ity, and only a few adroit in­di­vid­u­als man­age to walk it suc­cess­fully. Those that can’t end up sound­ing like pompous jerks. These were plucked from ac­tual dat­ing pro­files — the iden­ti­ties are hid­den to pro­tect the stupid:

I’m the man of your dreams.”

Stop — don’t look any further.”

And my favourite:

Me:

  • rest­less en­tre­pre­neur and in­vest­ment banker
  • am­bi­tious
  • well-educated
  • career-oriented
  • thrill seeker
  • suc­cess­ful yet hum­ble

No, I did not make the last one up.

Stick to facts like oc­cu­pa­tion or lo­ca­tion, any fact that can’t be re­futed or sub­jected to de­bate. (E.g. “I’m a graphic de­signer liv­ing in down­town Toronto. I have short, brown hair and blue eyes,” or “I am Elmer J. Fudd, millionaire. I own a man­sion and a yacht.”) Just like the “My friends say I’m…” sen­tence, avoid sub­jec­tive self-descriptions. Your date will de­cide whether you’re funny, smart or a rav­ing narcissist.

Long walks on the beach, sun­sets and puppies

The best way to at­tract po­ten­tial dates is by list­ing your likes or hob­bies - mu­sic, books, ac­tiv­i­ties. Don’t give a laun­dry list, just a gen­eral de­scrip­tion of your in­ter­ests, e.g. soul mu­sic, animé, taxidermy. You might end up with a date for the next sci-fi con­ven­tion or food and wine show. A good idea is to tell the reader what your per­fect date would in­volve, or what you do on a typ­i­cal Friday night (I’d avoid any men­tion of cry­ing, mas­tur­ba­tion or porn; besides, those are all givens when you’re single).

I don’t need no stink­ing Spellcheck

According to the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL), 48% of adult Canadians have lit­er­acy lev­els too low to cope in mod­ern so­ci­ety. What both­ers me is that a lot of men on dat­ing sites can ob­vi­ously read and write but choose not to. They may want to ap­pear hip (e.g. hey there. i hope you like my pro­file. i am a hand­some stud.) or em­pha­size how ea­ger they are (e.g. HEY THERE! I HOPE YOU LIKE MY PROFILE! I AMHANDSOME STUD!). I also sus­pect that most men just don’t care (e.g. Hey ther. Hope you lik my pro­file. I am hand­some, stud.) Whatever the reason, poor gram­mar and spelling is a big turn-off for most women. A man who doesn’t put a lot of thought into his on­line per­sona more than likely has skid­marks on his un­der­wear and a tow­er­ing pile of pizza car­tons on his kitchen counter.

Many peo­ple strug­gle with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties and ESL courses while you take your first-world ed­u­ca­tion, piss all over it and light it on fire. This is not cool.

Shopping lists

Don’t give us a list of what you look for in a woman. You’re look­ing for a date, not shop­ping for gro­ceries. If you want some­one who en­joys par­tic­i­pat­ing in sports, it’s fair to ask for that in your pro­file - you want to keep the couch pota­toes away. But ask for some­thing like this:

I’m look­ing for an at­trac­tive, in­tel­li­gent, sexy, spon­ta­neous woman in her 20s who isn’t into head games and is open-minded.

and you might as well be ask­ing for a lep­rechaun to come fly­ing in on a uni­corn with a pot o’ gold. Perhaps no one has told you this, so I’ll be the one to break it to you: No woman is that per­fect. (Neither are you, for that matter; stop be­ing so picky.)

Every man wants a woman who is at­trac­tive, smart and funny. Don’t state the ob­vi­ous. List the at­trib­utes that YOU find at­trac­tive that oth­ers may not: “You have a Princess Leia cos­tume”; “You ap­pre­ci­ate a fine zom­bie movie”; or “You live for paragliding.”

When a woman reads your laun­dry list of ex­pec­ta­tions, do you know what she does? First, she checks off the traits she doesn’t have. (Blame Cosmo and Vogue for that.) Then she moves on to the next pro­file. So, if you are look­ing for a 24 to 35-year-old woman who must fit your very nar­row cri­te­ria, the chances are good you’ve lost the in­ter­est of that at­trac­tive, in­tel­li­gent, just-turned 36-year-old sex­pot who owns a Princess Leia metal bikini.

TMI

Some things are best left un­said, or saved un­til the third date. These in­clude bro­ken re­la­tion­ships, past heartaches or sto­ries that sound like lyrics from a coun­try song. You can men­tion you’re di­vorced or have chil­dren — there are some facts you should be up­front about from the be­gin­ning. But stay away from doc­u­ment­ing your in­ner strug­gles fol­low­ing a bad breakup. Some pro­files read like de­press­ing nov­els; if you want to chan­nel your in­ner Tolstoy, take a writ­ing class. Otherwise, you won’t get many re­sponses, save for the oc­ca­sional rec­om­men­da­tion of a good therapist.

So, there you have it. I hope this helps you in your jour­ney for love and hap­pi­ness. I leave you with hope, good thoughts and this butchered film quote:

If you build a good pro­file, they will come.

FIN


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PR and on­line dat­ing: Part Two

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This is the sec­ond in a se­ries of mus­ings on PR and Online Dating, orig­i­nally posted on October 14.

Part two — The Nickname and Tagline

For those who have never pe­rused on­line dat­ing sites, the nick­name is your user han­dle. You don’t want to use your real name and if you ask, “Why not?” I strongly sug­gest you avoid the Internet for­ever. A tagline is a one-sentence in­tro­duc­tion about your­self. Don’t make it a pick-up line; this is why women don’t like go­ing to bars.

When com­ing up with your pro­file name and tagline, it is best to think of it in terms of brand­ing. Your photo is your logo, your nick­name is the name of your prod­uct (you) and your tag line is your slo­gan. All are meant to cre­ate in­trigue and in­ter­est. Much like you do with your hair and cloth­ing, you want to take those ex­tra few mo­ments to make sure every­thing is in place. Or you risk this:

Uh-oh.

Uh oh. (Source: The LogoFactory​.com)

The Nickname

Have you ever been asked to come up with one word to best de­scribe your­self? It’s an ex­er­cise in frus­tra­tion. This one word is sup­posed to en­cap­su­late and com­mu­ni­cate the essence that is YOU. Which is why choos­ing a nick­name for your on­line dat­ing pro­file is the trick­i­est and most dis­cour­ag­ing chore you can go through. How do you come up with a moniker that cap­tures how funny/well-read/cool you are? Some say it can’t be done; I say it can, with imag­i­na­tion, some cre­ativ­ity and a lit­tle help from your friends.

The “Nickname”. We all have nick­names be­stowed upon us by oth­ers. Some are pet names given to you as a child, while oth­ers are han­dles you’ve picked up as you’ve gone through adult­hood. No doubt there are more wait­ing for you in the future. 

Using your nick­name in your pro­file is a good idea. However, if its et­y­mol­ogy needs to be ex­plained to those out­side your so­cial or fa­mil­ial cir­cle in or­der for it to be un­der­stood, don’t use it.

Case in point: Your bro­heems call you Stubby be­cause of your fond­ness for those old Molson stubby beer bot­tles. Cute, yes. But on a dat­ing site, “Stubby” takes on a whole dif­fer­ent mean­ing. Sure, you can ex­plain your nick­name in your pro­file, but most women won’t even bother get­ting to it. They’ll be too busy laughing.

Characters. This is easy - just take your favourite char­ac­ter from a book, movie or tele­vi­sion show. This works if you’re tar­get­ing your au­di­ence to find some­one with in­ter­ests that match yours. But if you want to broaden your hori­zons and at­tract as many women as pos­si­ble to your pro­file, pro­ceed with cau­tion and note these caveats:

  • Anything from Star Trek/Star Wars/Battlestar Galactica. As much as these shows have made strides into main­stream cul­ture, call­ing your­self Picard, Boba Fett or Starbuck au­to­mat­i­cally la­bels you as a nerd.
  • Comic books. With all the in­ner per­son­al­ity con­flicts af­flict­ing su­per­heroes and their foes, tread care­fully here. Calling your­self Harvey Dent — do-good lawyer or a ma­niac with a fa­cial de­for­mity? Superman or Batman — a loner in tights. The Joker — an­other psy­chopath with fa­cial de­for­mity. Remember, women read comic books too.
  • Don’t be a smarty-pants. People aren’t go­ing to rush to their dic­tio­nar­ies to look up your name, Hephaestus. Same goes for you, Beowulf. Names like these are for­eign to most peo­ple — they’ll just scrunch their noses, scratch their heads and move on to Optimus Prime’s pro­file. I’m not sug­gest­ing you have to dumb it down; just keep in mind it is a dat­ing site and from what I heard there isn’t a high rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Mensa types on there. My nick­name was Circe — very few men got the irony. 

Names with “69” or “XXX” in them. The man who has this nick­name is the kind who watches way too much porn and has sev­eral re­straint or­ders filed against him. It can also scream, “I talk the talk but never get to walk the walk. MOM! Nooo, don’t come in! Why don’t you knock? I soooo have to move out. Oooh, new Number 6 fan fiction!”

Boring1234. If the name you chose is taken, most sites will sug­gest the same name, but with num­bers at the end. For ex­am­ple, Casanova3453. A name like this tells me you ei­ther lack imag­i­na­tion or are too lazy to come up with an­other name. Try again.

Tag lines

Some con­fuse this with a pick-up line you would use at a bar. Again, It’s more like a slo­gan. Like an ad exec you be should be cre­ative and sell your­self. Just avoid any ad­ver­tis­ing clichés like “Over 1 mil­lion served” or “Servicing women since 1975.”

“Hey Ladies…” No mat­ter what your in­ten­tion or af­fec­ta­tion is, this al­ways comes across as sleazy. Are you look­ing for one woman or a harem? If it’s the lat­ter, good luck <snicker>.

The Egoist. Online dat­ing sites are full of these ar­ro­gant pricks. “Hey, don’t look any fur­ther!” or “I’m what you’re look­ing for!” Unless you can back that claim up with third party en­dorse­ments, lay off the spin. And if you ARE Mr. Right, why hasn’t some lucky lady snapped you up yet?

I ac­tu­ally saw a tagline that read: “Hey! You’ve just won the lot­tery!” Really? I guess no one wants to claim you. You are the equiv­a­lent of the Free Ticket prize I get on Encore: high in­vest­ment, low yields.

Pop cul­ture ref­er­ences. See “Characters”, above. But with the following caveats:

  • No Scarface quotes. “Say ‘Hello’ to my lit­tle friend!” No, thanks.
  • Avoid chick flicks. Unless you want to meet a woman who can re­cite every line from Pretty Woman and will drag your ass to the lat­est ro­man­tic com­edy puke­fest. She also has a ton of stuffed an­i­mals on her bed and puts sweaters on her cats (note the plural tense). Here’s a tip: Princess Bride works for a lot of cool chicks.
  • No po­etry. Unless you’re Lord Bryon or Smokey Robinson, avoid in­clud­ing your own work. Seduction through words is best left to the pros.
  • Song lyrics. These can be open to in­ter­pre­ta­tion or am­bi­gu­ity. Choose wisely or go for the com­pletely bla­tant (Spinal Tap’s “Lick my Love Pump”).

The Eeyore. “No one’s gonna read this” or “Yup, I’m still on here!” Being self-deprecating to the point of cringe-inducing is not go­ing to bring women to your pity party. The con­cept of “re­verse psy­chol­ogy” is so overused that it doesn’t work any­more. Unless you’re Bugs Bunny. 

Duck season, fire!

Duck sea­son, fire!

Coming soon: The Profile


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PR and Online Dating: Part One

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Here’s a lit­tle tid­bit about me: I was once an on­line dater.

I am not ashamed of my ad­mis­sion, nor do I re­gret my ac­tions. I made a few friends through the process. I also have a col­lec­tion of funny anec­dotes I can de­pend on to liven up pauses in conversations.

Earlier this year, I de­cided to re­move all my dat­ing pro­files, de­spite be­ing bom­barded with eHar­mony ads. (Clearly, their ads are tar­geted to peo­ple who have never dated on­line.) I did so for two rea­sons: one, on­line dat­ing can take up a lot of one’s time, which I don’t have much of any­more; and two, on­line dat­ing can be a hu­mil­i­at­ing process — your self-esteem can only take so many beat­ings, no mat­ter how strong you think you are. (There is a third rea­son I give when the ques­tion is asked by smug mar­rieds: “Yes, I AM still sin­gle and childless. Why ruin a good thing?”)

All this begs the ques­tion: why does on­line dat­ing have to be so hard? Before the Internet, peo­ple would meet each other at bars, par­ties or through friends. That was truly a WYSIWYG sit­u­a­tion; you could size up your po­ten­tial mate in as much time as it took to drink your beer. But that meant mak­ing the ef­fort to put on makeup, ven­ture out­side and spend time with count­less knobs be­fore you found a de­cent bloke with nice breath and more than two words to string together.

When I dis­cov­ered on­line dat­ing, it was like manna from the heav­ens. I could scroll through hun­dreds of men, in the com­fort of my home and pa­ja­mas, and delete the un­de­sir­ables with a click of my mouse. It was like pick­ing fruit in a gro­cery store — I could toss aside the dented, moldy ap­ples to get to the shiny, juicy ones. How can that be a bad thing?

But like most web ap­pli­ca­tions, it’s only as good as the peo­ple who use them. There are users who see the tool as en­hanc­ing their lives, e.g. in­creas­ing their chances of meet­ing a nice per­son. And there will be those who see it as a means to their ne­far­i­ous ends, e.g. how many women can I dupe, date and dump? You can prob­a­bly guess which group I en­coun­tered the most.

I was re­cently shar­ing my on­line dat­ing ex­pe­ri­ences with a girl­friend. Between the two of us, we ac­cu­mu­lated many sto­ries of, to quote the Lowest of the Low, sales­men, cheats and liars. We came up with some ba­sic guide­lines on how to de­ci­pher a man’s on­line pro­file. (For example, using “Tony Montana” as a pro­file name. Is it their real name or a shout out to a mur­der­ous, cocaine-snorting movie char­ac­ter? Answer: they prob­a­bly have a Scarface poster over their bed.) Conversely, these same guide­lines could pro­vide men with tips on how to best mar­ket them­selves. Then it struck me — on­line dat­ing is a lot like pub­lic re­la­tions! My co­hort didn’t see the con­nec­tion but I sure did. The idea may seem ridicu­lous at first, but bear with me.

PR is about build­ing re­la­tion­ships with your au­di­ences. It in­volves de­vel­op­ing a pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship with the pub­lic, with the goal of get­ting them to view your or­ga­ni­za­tion in a pos­i­tive light. It also in­cludes build­ing a strong brand that will at­tract the right au­di­ence, in­still trust and con­fi­dence and help you avoid pitchfork-wielding mobs.

When post­ing a pro­file on an on­line dat­ing site, aren’t the goals very sim­i­lar? You want to build a strong brand (pro­file) that will at­tract the right au­di­ence (women). It should also be an ac­cu­rate and hon­est por­trayal of what you have to of­fer; if your brand does not re­flect re­al­ity or you can’t back it up with qual­ity prod­uct, your suc­cess rate will plummet. And you will be chased by pitchfork-wielding women.

According to Love Online: A Report on Digital Dating in Canada 37% more men than women use on­line dat­ing ser­vices. That means for every woman us­ing on­line dat­ing ser­vices, there are more than two men. So not only do you have to at­tract women to your pro­file, you have to com­pete with hun­dreds of other fel­lows at the same time. How do you make your brand stand out? I called it the 3H fac­tor — hon­esty, a lit­tle bit of hu­mil­ity and a dose of humour.

So as a pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ment, I de­cided to em­bark on a se­ries of posts on mar­ket­ing your­self through your on­line dat­ing pro­file. What do women look for? And what do your pro­file choices re­ally say about you? (My ex­pe­ri­ences with on­line dat­ing are lim­ited to men, so the fo­cus will be on male pro­files, ‘natch. Any male vis­i­tors to my blog are free to post their own mus­ings about women and on­line dat­ing in the com­ments sec­tion. Or write a post on your blog about the subject; remember to link to mine to cre­ate a lively dis­cus­sion.) I would also like to thank all my lovely girl­friends who con­tributed their own sug­ges­tions via Twitter.

Part one: The Photo

They say a pic­ture is worth a thou­sand words and brother, they ain’t kid­ding. This is the make-or-break item in your profile. It is what makes a woman de­cide whether to read your pro­file or block you from ever ap­pear­ing on her screen again. The fol­low­ing are the types of pho­tos com­monly used and why they give cre­dence to the old no­tion that pic­tures can steal your soul.

Standing in front of your car. It’s nice that you’re proud of your souped-up Honda Civic. In these times it is im­pres­sive that you can af­ford to drive, what with the high in­sur­ance rates and soar­ing gas prices. And ku­dos to you for be­ing able to get your en­tire car in the photo with you!

What it says about you: That sure is a nice sheen on your chas­sis but you’re so far away that I CAN’T SEE YOUR FACE. It also tells me you’ll prob­a­bly be more into your car than me. I ex­pect our dates will in­clude trips to the car wash, street rac­ing and a re­quest for a Tawny Kitaen-pose on the hood of your car be­cause you are more than likely a Whitesnake fan.

She'll put a shine on your chassis!

Tawny Kitaen, 80s video vixen. She’ll put a shine on your chassis!

The Usher Shot. No, I’m not talk­ing about the singer. It’s that one photo taken at your buddy’s wed­ding. You’re in a dap­per tuxedo and you look ab­solutely, in­cred­i­bly handsome.

What is says about you: You look good in a tuxedo. Big deal, most men do. But un­less you’re James Bond, don’t bother us­ing it as your main pro­file photo. Yes, it shows that you dress up real good, but what about the other 364 days of the year?

NOT YOU.

NOT YOU.

Group shots. Wow, you have a lot of friends. And they all seem to like you, you party animal!

What it says about you: You’re ac­tu­ally go­ing to make me look for you in the photo? Is this what I’ll be do­ing every Saturday night when you’re out par­ty­ing with your bud­dies — look­ing for you? In my ex­pe­ri­ence, men who post the group shot are usu­ally the ugli­est ones in the photo. While this may not be true in your case, that’s the first thing that pops into my head. Next!

Pictures with at­trac­tive women. Wow, those are very at­trac­tive women you’re with! You’re such a stud!

What is says about you: So you got a Hooters waitress/Budweiser girl/auto show model to pose with you. Sorry to tell you this, but they’ll pose with any­body. That’s what they are paid to do. And if you are such a chick mag­net, why are you on a dat­ing site? You can get women to pose in pic­tures with you, but you can’t seal the deal?

Dude! They are SOOO not going out with you.

Dude! They are SOOO not go­ing out with you.

Cut and paste shots. Aren’t you cre­ative! You’ve taken a pic­ture of your­self with an ex-girlfriend, cut her out and put “This could be you!” in her place. Awwww.

What is says about you: You think women are all the same and eas­ily replaceable. You’re also a big nerd.

The shirt­less man. You’re smok­ing hot. You must spend every day at the gym work­ing on your six-pack.

What is says about you: You’d rather spend time at the gym in­stead of snug­gling in front of the TV with me, a pizza and a six-pack of beer. You also spend more time in the bath­room than I do. You shave your chest more of­ten than I shave my legs.

You are a walk­ing Backstreet Boy video.

Really????

Really????

The trav­eler shot. Wow, you climb mountains, scuba dive and visit ex­otic lo­cales. Nice shot of you waterskiing/in front of Mayan ruins/snorkeling.

What it says about you: You’re never home long enough for a re­la­tion­ship. And you have no job.

Firemen. Ah, yes, 9/11 has been bery, bery good to you, hasn’t it? What a cheeky shot of you wear­ing noth­ing but your, er, hose.

What it says about you: You want a one-night stand. Women of sub­stance do not get a fire down be­low just be­cause you slide down a pole. (This rule also ap­plies to cops and mil­i­tary personnel.)

Firemen NEVER look like this.

Firemen NEVER look like this.

“Private” or hid­den photo. You have to send me your pho­tos first be­fore you see these goods, baby.

What it says about you: You’re cheat­ing on your wife.

No photo at all. You haven’t got a scanner. You haven’t had time to up­load pho­tos from your dig­i­tal cam­era. You’re prob­a­bly bet­ter look­ing in per­son, anyways!

What it says about you: You are a lazy, ugly Luddite.

It’s sim­ple, re­ally. BE HONEST. Don’t post any photo of you that is more than five years old. The pic­ture is sup­posed to sell you. Think of it as truth in ad­ver­tis­ing; we will meet you at some point — do you re­ally want us to be dis­ap­pointed? Do you want us walk­ing away think­ing we’ve been sold a bill of goods? Remember, women talk. I had girl­friends who used the same dat­ing sites I did, and we would warn each other about cer­tain men. If I only had a blog back then…

Here’s an­other way to put it: You want to sell your car and post an ad in Auto Trader. You are sell­ing a Pontiac Sunbird; you wouldn’t post a pic­ture of a Cadillac, would you?

I know it’s hard. A lot of women will flock to the gener­i­cally hand­some men who make all the above mis­takes. But be pa­tient - these women will be con­tin­u­ously dis­ap­pointed with “Romeo243” and “PrinceCharming4567” that your nice photo and funny pro­file will win them over. You may not look like Brad Pitt, but beauty is in the eye of the be­holder. There are women who aren’t sold just on flash and style; we look for sub­stance be­hind the brand - wit, charm and intelligence.

Coming soon: The pro­file nickname.


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Rage against the machine

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I read this in­ter­est­ing post in a blog on Computerworld​.com last week:

People over 30 hate cell phones

By Mike Egan

A re­search firm has found that peo­ple over 30 use just 12 per­cent of the fea­tures on their cell phones and feel frus­trated and over­whelmed by cell phone com­plex­ity. And it’s not just ex­otic fea­tures adults strug­gle with, but even ba­sics like check­ing voice mail, us­ing ad­dress books and dialing.

The firm, Half Moon Bay Calif.-based Bowen Research, found that peo­ple un­der the age of 30 use about half of their phones’ features. 

More than one third of the peo­ple over 30 sur­veyed by Bowen Research ex­pressed “deep frus­tra­tion” about their cell phones.

Here are a few quotes from the study pub­lished in a Bowen press release:

“I never quite know what I’m do­ing af­ter a year and a half.“
“If it’s too com­pli­cated, it just re­ally isn’t worth it.“
“Not in­tu­itive at all.“
“To this day, I don’t know how to check voicemail.”

Multiple re­spon­dents said many cell phone fea­tures are “im­pos­si­ble to learn” and that cell phones are “out of your control.”

Where did they find these lud­dites sur­vey par­tic­i­pants? Living un­der rocks?

As some­one who is — ahem — over 30, I want to dis­pel any no­tion that the ma­jor­ity of us are tech­no­log­i­cally re­tarded (or “e-tarded”.) I am pretty savvy when it comes to tech­nol­ogy. I can fig­ure things out within min­utes, even with­out an in­struc­tion man­ual. While I love the scratchy sounds of a nee­dle hit­ting vinyl, I just love my iPod. My Laserdisc player and VCR are col­lect­ing dust while I fawn over my PVR. I’m def­i­nitely not “old school” when it comes to technology.

But I do hate cell phones, and not for the rea­sons noted in the article.

I grew up in a time be­fore cell phones, when there were mo­ments you were ac­tu­ally un­reach­able. You didn’t know the minu­tiae of stranger’s lives when you rode the bus. When the com­pany you were with wouldn’t ig­nore you to read their lat­est text message.

Source: Gizmodo​.com

Don’t get me wrong — I en­joy and take ad­van­tage of the con­ve­niences tech­nol­ogy has given me. It has come into my life grad­u­ally, how­ever, and I have been able to choose which tools fit my life. Future gen­er­a­tions will come into this world com­pletely con­nected to tech­nol­ogy. They will know no other way of life. They will com­mu­ni­cate more through tech­nol­ogy and in­ter­per­sonal re­la­tion­ships will become…well, less personal.

Having a cell phone is some­thing I chose to buy; it wasn’t forced on me. The cost is min­i­mal and it pro­vides me with some ben­e­fits and ef­fi­cien­cies. But it does not rule my life. I have friends whose lives would be turned up­side down if they lost their cell phones. Me? I still keep an ad­dress book. I choose face-to-face con­ver­sa­tions over those con­ducted by text mes­sag­ing. I use my cell phone to fa­cil­i­tate get-togethers, not re­place them.

I hate cell phones be­cause they en­croach on a way of life where we in­ter­act with each other in per­son. Humans evolve over time to adapt to their environments, but were we fail­ing as a species be­fore the ad­vent of cell phones? I don’t think so.

Or maybe I’ve never been much of a phone per­son to be­gin with.


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