May 12, 2008

Facebook game

No, I'm suggesting you try to meet new girls on Facebook, or rely on it in any way. But if you're looking to date or make friends with girls who are under 25, and perhaps also for those ages 26 to 30, not having a Facebook profile is like not being able to send and receive text messages -- you will instantly stand out as a weirdo. If you don't need one, consider yourself lucky, and don't get one. Although it is difficult to make Facebook work to your advantage, here are some guidelines to keep it from lowering your value. You'll notice that girls violate all of these rules, but they won't pay a cost -- you will. Some may sound obvious, but I see violations all the time. (The rules for sending messages on Facebook are the same as using email or text messages.)

As a rule, Keep It Simple, Stupid. When you first sign up, it is easy to get sucked into it for a brief while, so just don't even go there. If it looks like you spend a lot of time on Facebook, girls will feel that you aren't accomplishing things in life, either with girls or in your studies / career, even if you only visit it during your downtime. The telltale sign of investing a lot in Facebook is having a bloated profile -- you know what these are if you've seen them. Really, no one cares about who are your 100 favorite indie rock bands (updated daily), or how many funny bumper stickers your buddies send you. Concretely, going from the top of the profile to the bottom:

- Only change your status twice a week at most, and only do so in order to mention something adventuresome and exciting that you're doing: going to a club, ballet performance, skydiving, whatever. Never mention anything that's going bad, and don't whine, like "Agnostic is still sick" or "Agnostic wishes finals would end already."

- Use a profile picture where you look attractive (ask a girl to pick one, or that girls have commented on positively in the past). I have a stoic stare, not quite a scowl, and am looking a bit off to the side. Smiling seems too personal to me -- especially if you're showing teeth -- but this can be a matter of taste (it really only flies when you're a politician or CEO who seeks approval from strangers as part of your job). Do not look high-energy or make a face you wouldn't normally. Keep the shot confined to your face, maybe down to the chest; and if your clothes are visible, make sure you are projecting whatever you want to.

- Basic info just to the right of my picture says only what networks I'm in, my sex, if I dig guys or girls, and my home town. If you want to state that you're single, remember that most girls will interpret this declaration unconsciously as "desperate for a date." Stating your political or religious views is off-limits just as it is on first dates. When editing your profile, choose the option of "Don't show my birthday in my profile." Age difference is a potential obstacle -- even for friendship -- and if it comes up, you want to be able to deal with it right away. You can't do that if you blab it out in the top of your profile.

- Contact info should have an email address at most. No quality guy gives out his cell phone number, let alone address, to the entire world.

- Education is tricky. If you went to a good school, you want that to show since they will think better of you. On the other hand, it can give away your exact age if the person is willing to do the math. Personally, I don't think the boost from having "good school" cred outweighs the potential for introducing the age difference issue too early. I keep the school info at the very bottom of the profile, just to show that I'm not hiding age info, in the off-chance where she balks at an age difference: "Gee, you're getting kinda weird on me all of the sudden -- I thought you saw that I graduated in XX, so I assumed you were cool." It hasn't come to that yet, but just in case. Oh, definitely do not include where / when you went to high school.

- Job I would leave blank unless you are a hedge fund manager or something, for the same reason that PUAs recommend being as evasive as possible about your job in bars and clubs. It weeds out golddiggers and leaves her wanting to know more about you.

- Personal info you should keep to a bare minimum: fill out as much as you feel like, then cut out 75% of it or more. Just like with your status info, this should only reflect your exciting qualities, like how adventuresome you are, how cultured, and how little you care about what people think of your interests and activities. But don't beat people over the head with your good qualities either: reveal one extreme sport you play, and save the rest for personal conversations. You can be cocky / funny, but don't try to be a comedian or be sarcastic.

- Groups are an extension of the personal info section. If you want to join five or fewer groups to give a tease of what you're like, fine. It's cool not to join any groups, since you won't participate in them at all.

- Friend list don't really mean much, so don't bother sending friend requests to lots of people to convince others that you're Mr. Popular. Girls know that guys try to friend lots of hot girls in order to make themselves look like pimps, but no one is fooled. If lots of hot girls write favorable things about you on your Wall, or if you're in pictures acting nonchalant around hot girls, that's different.

- Photos are different, since you can prove rather than claim. Put up some pictures of yourself, your family, your friends, you with your ex-girlfriend (uploaded when you were dating), places you've traveled to, unknown fun spots around your neighborhood or city, appetizing food that you make, athletic things you do, and so on. Girls won't downgrade your status so easily if they see you doing gushy things in pictures. So if you're tempted to say "I think the world of my adorable cat Simba" in your personal info, instead just include some pictures of you scratching under his chin and it's clear he appreciates what you're doing. Even if the girl suffers from a love of dogs, she will still say "Awwww!" Showing pictures of you playing with nieces and nephews is also better than saying how important family is to you.

- The Wall should accumulate comments slowly, since if you have lots of them, the girl will infer that you spend a lot of time writing on other people's Wall, and are a dork. Don't write on other people's Wall very much, saving any comments for private messages. Only do so when you know that their response on your own Wall will serve as a testimony to what a great person you are. As with other DHVs, it's best if they come from females, especially those who know you well, are not obviously solicited, and where she is remarking casually, not to purposefully help her friend out with some girl.

For example, if you go out with a female friend and protect her from creepy guys at a club, you can leave a comment on her Wall about how fun it was, and joke about how isn't she lucky you were there to protect her. She will leave a response on your Wall thanking you for protecting her from creepy guys, a very desirable quality. This isn't manipulation or lying since you actually have to do these things for people to remark on them, and why not make your good side known? And by keeping it so that the majority of your Wall comments are like this, the reader won't have to sift through a bunch of garbage to find them.

- Anything additional should probably not be there: personality tests, your scores on trivia games, bumper stickers, etc. There are some that might work for you, like a map highlighted with "countries I've traveled to," but they can easily bloat your profile, so try not to add anything. I have iLike, which embeds an audio or video song clip, and that's it (I change the song once a week or less frequently).

- Set your privacy preferences so that nothing you do gets broadcasted to your friends, to your Mini-Feed, etc. Remember: no one cares, and it bloats your profile.

I never thought I'd have to think about any of this, but when part of your social circle includes those under 25 (especially undergrads), and when the girls you like are in this age range, you can't avoid having a Facebook presence, and that requires that you maintain a good image there.

10 comments:

  1. I've also found that girls will often want to send you crap, uh, gifts, so you end up with all these junk applications.

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  2. roissy9:40 PM

    this post is very useful. i will put these tips to work now. personally, i find it a pain in the ass to keep on top of my facebook profile.

    btw, OT but can you recommend a good free site where i can take the Big Five personality test?

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  3. cuchulainn9:01 AM

    or you could just do an 'about me' like neil strauss:

    http://www.myspace.com/neilstrauss

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yeah, the gifts gifts are OK, since they all go in one box, but if they send you anything else that requires you to add an application, it's probably good to politely decline... and then tease them about how you don't want your profile to look as bloated and alcoholic as theirs does.

    Online Big Five tests -- if Google didn't turn up anything, Facebook actually has an app that gives you the "short" version of the test (where you answer maybe 100 questions instead of 300).

    Click on Applications in the left-hand menu, then Search more apps, entering the word "personality." The 5th one, called My Personality, with a brain picture, is it.

    As with any app you do for fun, when you add it, uncheck all boxes except for "let it know who I am" since that's required -- otherwise your results get broadcasted everywhere.

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  5. Out of curiousity, how old are you agnostic?

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  6. Shit yo...how did my 27 years make me such a pariah? It's ok to meet girls that are my age too.

    But I agree re: winey status messages.

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  7. Anonymous4:54 PM

    you can actually list college info and not include the grad date, same with your birthday, just hide the year, you want the month and day to show so you can make astrological connections and collect b-day e-love lol

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  8. is this really the way we want to live our lives?

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  9. I'm 27.

    Shit yo...how did my 27 years make me such a pariah? It's ok to meet girls that are my age too.

    Don't let it go to your head or anything, but you come off as about 5 years younger than you are, so I wouldn't mind hanging out with you.

    I've tried hanging out with girls my age -- doesn't work normally. They're no fun, are becoming bitter, and can't do much for me (e.g., help me win over a girl I like).

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  10. Anonymous3:59 PM

    By how many years is it acceptable to lie about your age on your FB profile?

    ReplyDelete

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