Happily, the following advice doesn't come from the Lemming
This Article's Online Dating Tip #1: Don't be Creepy"Three boneheaded online dating moves to avoid"
Andrea Bartz and Brenna Ehrlich, Netiquette, CNN (February 15, 2012)
"Ahh, yes, February 15, the joyful day when singletons can finally collapse in exhaustion after weeks of maintaining a nonchalant front. Finally, you think, finally, the incessant stream of hearts and cupids and reminders that romantic partnership is the apogee of human achievement will come to a merciful end.
"And then you voluntarily read to the second paragraph of our weekly netiquette column, silly! That's right, we're here to take you waist-deep into that cesspool of romantic endeavors and bad decisions: online dating....
"...We've told you what not to do with your first message to a prospective date. We've told you what not to do with your photo. Yet real, live online daters continue to find bizarre and almost impressively original ways to turn us off...."
The Lemming has a few words to say about online dating, common sense, and using "password" as a password. First, though, a 'don't do' list for online dating, according to Bartz and Ehrlich:
- A stalker
- All of the above
- Revealing little-to-nothing about yourself
- No photo
- Terse text
- Using a stupid user name, like
Online Dating, Losers, Grownups, and a Ranting LemmingDating sites seem to have gotten the reputation that singles bars had (and maybe still have): vaguely sleazy places where losers go to get scammed, or catch loathsome diseases. Or, sometimes, get in the papers when their bodies are recovered.
Are the reputations deserved? In their extreme form, probably not. On the other hand, the Lemming runs across this sort of thing now and then:
- "Online dating conman 'left me hurt and violated' "
BBC News, Hereford & Worcester (February 14, 2012)
- "Second Person Charged In Online Dating Murder Plot"
WESH.com, Orlando (January 12, 2012)
- "In wake of Southfield motel murder, seven notable cases of online dating gone wrong"
MLive.com (June 22, 2010)
- "Julissa Brisman ID'd as Boston Marriott Murder Victim: 5 Safety Precautions Craigslist Users Should Take"
BindLaw Blotter (April 16, 2009)
What the Lemming sees as a common thread here is folks who apparently didn't ask themselves 'what's the worst that could happen?' Or gave themselves the wrong answer. Human nature being what it is, even the sharpest, most people-savvy, person can make mistakes.
Are online dating sites populated entirely by immature losers and the predators who stalk them? Unlikely in the extreme: if that were so, some news service would have a daily body count as part of it's social-media programming.
Another point: 'Online dating sites' aren't always about online dating. Some serve folks who are looking for something more than a one-night stand; or even a summer fling. Some even come right out and acknowledge that their members want to get married.
Either way, the Lemming figures that at least some of the folks we meet online really are who they say they are: and have logged enough life experience to make rational decisions.
"Password" isn't a Good PasswordBack to amazing blunders, like using "password" as a password.
Long before Nigerian scam entered the language, folks occasionally:
- Learned that a long-lost uncle
- They'd never heard about
- Died in Australia
- Leaving them an improbably large fortune
Between financial scams, credit card fraud, and counterfeit postage stamps, a sufficiently fretful person might decide to disconnect Internet, cable, and telephone service.
That, in the Lemming's opinion, would be over-reacting.
Being cautious about the online acquaintance whose creepiness makes Norman Bates seem wholesome? That could save a person's life.
Then there's the matter of not acting like the motel proprietor in "Psycho:" and that's another topic.
Slightly-related posts in this blog:
- "How to Not Sound Crazy - or - THE PARANOIDS ARE AFTER ME!!!"
(June 12, 2011)
- "Lemming Tracks: A Geek is Not a Nerd"
(April 15, 2011)
- "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People With Email: 10 Easy Points"
(February 24, 2011)
- "Growing Your Online Presence and Balancing Your Life"
(August 13, 2010)
- "Marks of a Really Good Nerd Party"
(December 6, 2007)