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THE SOCIAL WHIRL

For the online scene, keys to a coyly perfect post

April 09, 2006|Christine N. Ziemba

ALTHOUGH MySpace.com has gotten a lot of flak lately (especially from parents) for letting members post questionable materials and for not having tighter reins on posers and pedophiles phishing for "dates," the social networking site remains as popular as ever for those genuinely looking for love -- or something like it.

It's become a thriving meat market, just without the jello shots and beer-soaked floors. "Everyone's hooking up with each other [on MySpace] and they really don't know each other," says Mark Brooks, online dating industry analyst and editor of OnlinePersonalsWatch.com. Brooks cautions newbie daters to be on guard for fakers and to never give out too much personal information online. He also adds one more pearl of wisdom: "Keep your top on."

Beyond Brooks' caveats, we'd like to suggest more MySpace-specific rules of engagement:

1. Don't kiss and tell. Do you really want your next date to read about your last romantic conquest -- real or imagined -- on your personal blog? (Mood: paranoid)

2. Don't run for homecoming court. Just because you were voted "most popular" in high school doesn't mean that the campaign should continue. Having 846 "friends" in your account smacks of insecurity.

3. Keep dates out of your top eight. While the site allows members to post photos of their top eight friends, leave the love interest(s) off the page. You'll either look like a player displaying trophies or scare off potential paramours by moving them too quickly to the top of your list.

4. Don't succumb to MySpace math. Some folks lie about their vital stats (one poster listed his height as between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-11). Be honest because, you know, it's hard to hide your real height in person.

5. Keep flattery at the office. Having your buddies sound like sycophants in online testimonials doesn't cut it. Even the crazy guy in the back cubicle got someone to say nice things about him in the reference check.

Following these MySpace rules may just help you transition from an online to an offline romance, complete with jello shots. But remember, your mileage may vary.

-- Christine N. Ziemba

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