Twitter got it right. When this micro-blogging service came to concept, many people weren’t impressed by the idea of using only 140 characters to express something. But the social networking site took off to become the fastest growing in history. And when it comes to online flirting, the Twitter model might be the right way to go. Long messages, texts and e-mails are less likely to get a reply than something a little shorter, and, well, a little sweeter. Just like with social networking, social flirting should be simple and quick.

Remember to save the long stories, explanations and history for real life meetings. Like with anything on the internet, most users are only likely to read the first couple paragraphs of a profile or watch the first 30 seconds of a personal video. Be thoughtful about what you say up front. Get the important details – like your areas of interest, goals and ambitions – out quickly or they might not ever be read. Don’t think of your dating profile as you, but rather as a sleek, edited representation of yourself. You need to impress quickly in order to be competitive, even in the online dating world, and you can save the gory details for a real life encounter.

The same rules definitely apply when sending a message or an e-mail to a potential lover, friend or date. Obviously make sure to show an interest in something the person said previously or posted in their profile, but don’t drone on and on about yourself. Each message or e-mail should be thought of as part of a conversation – just say enough so that the conversation can continue, no need to write a novel. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the days of the long love letters is over. Even these days, soldiers overseas look forward to Skype chats with their loved ones as opposed to letters that take weeks to arrive. So there’s no reason for you to send a 12-paragraph e-mail to someone you’re trying to date. Remember, a little bit of mystery goes a long way. Save the intense conversational topics for a first or second date, not a first or second message. Unless you’re a novel writer, your life story will be a lot more interesting coming through a face-to-face chat or broken down into several back and forth messages.

Essentially, the key to the internet is to remember that the shorter, the better – and this rule applies to the online dating world as much as anywhere else. When it comes to personal interactions, people may have longer attention spans, but the medium of the internet substantially shortens people’s attention spans, so limit yourself to a short witty repartee, a quick piece of a conversation saying just enough to leave them wanting more. After all, isn’t the point of flirting online just to make sure you get to test your skills in person?

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