OPW INTERVIEW -- Feb 14 -- Julie Spira is a cyber dating expert and has a book coming out on February 13th which is called The Perils of Cyber Dating – Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking For Love Online.
Why are you a cyber dating expert?
I was on the Internet before most people even knew there was an Internet or even had an email address. I first started on Love@AOL in 1994 when I was the first one on my block to put up an online dating profile. Since then, I went on over 250 dates and received four marriage proposals, which included one husband and one fiancé. Suddenly I became an expert at cyber-dating and was instructing my friends on how to successfully put up their profiles.
What inspired you to write the book?
I wrote The Perils of Cyber-Dating because I felt I had compelling stories to share with other online daters. I wanted to encourage singles of all ages with an email address to join an online dating service. I had to start my life all over again and I believed that I could make a difference in the lives of others by sharing my real life stories in cyberspace. The stories are humorous, witty, and very relatable.
Are you a fan of online dating?
I am absolutely a fan of online dating. Though I had some perilous and heartbreaking stories; I had some heartwarming stories as well. I've always embraced the Internet and was an early adopter. I think the Internet is a fabulous way to meet someone online. Most people suffer through a few bad dates or event a heartbreak like I did from online dating, but it shouldn't discourage them from trying to go back online again.
What do you love about Internet dating?
What I love the most about it is that it's so instantaneous. I live a very busy life and as a busy professional, I don't have a lot of extra time. The Internet is available 24/7 which made it very easy to connect online.
What advice are you giving in the book to people who are considering Internet dating or how can they do better with the services they use?
I have my Rules of "netiquette" in the book and hope to teach people to see the red flags from my personal experiences. I believe that finding the right partner online is like finding a piece of real estate. If it's marketed well, both in real estate and on your online dating profile, you will get a lot of activity and hopefully a match will be made. It's very important to have a profile with good photos. Recently I had my profile photos taken by LookBetterOnline.com and as a result the response rate to my cyber-dating profile has tripled.
So what do they do differently? What kind of photographs did you use in the past?
My profile photo was actually fine but a few years old. With a professional photographer, they were able to capture my image with excellent lighting. It is important to stand out in the huge sea of online dating profiles. I believe that your first photo should be a headshot and fairly recent.
Do you encourage people to put up photographs in general?
Absolutely! Photographs, videos, anything interactive will get noticed. Men are very visual. Either they will like what they see or they won't. They will pass over the profiles without a photo.
What do you think is most important for guys as they're looking over profiles?
Men scan through the bouquet of photos and often don't take the time to ready the profiles. They need to realize that a woman can get hundreds of emails from men, especially when their profile is brand new. If a man writes something personal to a woman mentioning something specific in her profile, he will have a greater chance of receiving a response. You'd be surprised at how many men "copy and paste" the same introduction letter to the same fifty women. Women have figured this out, and tend to ignore generic emails from men.
Do you talk about various Internet dating sites within the book? The different characteristics of the different sites?
I do mention the sites that I was on in a specific story line or chapter. My book is more of a personal tell-all memoir and romantic journey with my personal Rules of "Netiquette" and stories of those who broke those rules. I married a man who I met on Matchmaker.com and was engaged to a man I met on JDate.
What sites do you personally prefer?
For me it really depends on the season. I have been on probably over 10 sites in the course of 15 years. I was quite successful at meeting quality men on JDate and Match.com. For those who are just starting out, they may want to try Plenty of Fish as it is free and easy to use. There is something for everyone now and if you are looking for a serious relationship, you should join a site that caters to that crowd. If you are looking to "hook up" there are plenty of sites for those singles as well.