Online dating has not only gone mainstream, but one couple who met on eHarmony got married on the Love Float at the Rose Parade on New Year's Day.
With a New Year, and perhaps a not-so-happy holiday in the romance department, online dating sites are seeing a surge in sign-ups that will typically go through Valentine's Day.
As good as your intentions can be while making your 2013 list, like many New Year's resolutions, after a few weeks you'll typically lose momentum and dating or dieting patterns will start to diminish. You'll probably find more time to spend checking your friends' facebook activity, instead of logging on to Match, eHarmony or OkCupid. Little-by-little, finding love online ends up moving down on the totem pole on your list of daily activities.
Here are five simple dating resolutions I think you'll be able to keep, while casting your wide net.
1. Sign up for one to two online dating sites. If you're already on a mainstream site, why not take your profile and associated photos and post them on a niche site that focuses on some of your passions? With Internet dating, joining two sites is better than staying on one. Remember to change the primary photo, screen name, and the order of the paragraphs on your second profile, so it isn't a complete copycat of the original.
2. Sign on daily to read emails and see your matches and winks. We know you're logging onto Facebook for 45 minutes to one hour a day, so why not carve out some of that digital time to devote to your dating sites? If your Inbox is empty, go ahead and see which profiles the sites have matched you up with. Notice who has viewed your profile, winked or flirted with you and take the time to respond. Another benefit: Some people search specifically for those currently online, or who have signed on within the last 24 hours to three days. You'll be found much easier in the crowded digital playing field when you log on daily for love.
3. Write to five people a day. Does the squeaky wheel get the digital love deal? I think so. Depending on your age and the site, often 10 outbound emails might result in only one response. Do you really think the odds are much different while looking for your dream job? Probably not. Try to find at least five people every day you'd like to connect with, or at least enjoy their conversation. After all, online dating is a numbers game.
4. Refresh your profile weekly. Active Facebook users often upload a new photo every few days. Why not find one of your favorite shots and add it to your dating profile to keep it fresh? Take it a step further and post a new event that you're excited to be attending or add in your favorite quote. Otherwise, your profile will become stale like a billboard, which needs a face-lift. Looking for a date to go to a hockey game? Mention it in your profile and see the responses you'll get. Still stumped? Change the order of your sentences and you'll be more likely to show up higher in a search.
5. Reach out and reconnect. Did you get too busy during the year with day-to-day activities or did your relationship recently run its course? Perhaps you missed out on meeting someone you started to communicate with online. Take a look in your Inbox and do a search to see if he or she still has an active online dating profile. Reach out and send an email with a simple, "Happy New Year" as a digital icebreaker.
If their profile is still online, assume they haven't met "the one" yet. It may be a time for a new beginning for both of you.
Remember, the period from New Year's through Valentine's Day is filled with brand new profiles of singles looking for love online for the first time. It's peak season in the dating world. You need to play to win, or in this case, log on to find love.
Happy Dating. Let's make 2013 the year to fall in love online.
Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and the author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating and The Rules of Netiquette. She creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more online dating tips and advice, sign up for the Cyber-Dating ExpertWeekly Flirt, and socialize with Julie on Twitter @Julie Spira and at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert.