Use the internet to enhance your dating experience

Just because you didn’t meet someone through the use of a dating site doesn’t mean you can’t use the internet to enhance your dating experience, as communicating with friends and prospective partners has become increasingly facilitated by social networking websites as technology continues to push us towards more interconnectedness.

Nowadays, online dating isn’t limited to just the confines of a particular dating website. Between Myspace, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, you’ve got a myriad of ways to keep in contact with people, and this can actually make it much easier to gain acquaintances and expand your circle of friends than in the past.

Say you meet someone new at a party, down at the bar, or in some sort of other social environment: it’s almost a given that you’ll exchange enough information to find one another on your social network of choice, forging organic social connections that can easily grow into something more than that, if the chemistry is there. Not only that, but there are niche social networking sites for people with specific hobbies and interests, such as fitness, music, or photography, bringing people together in an environment where they already have something in common without having to worry about the stigma of approaching a virtual stranger.

This actually makes it all that much easier to meet new people and perhaps find yourself in a new relationship with one of them. People don’t have the same kind of free time that they used to, and being able to steal a moment here or there to test the waters at your favourite social networking site is much easier than a night out – especially when you’re working like a dog to make ends meet in the current economy; it’s also quite a bit less expensive as well, meaning that there’ll be more money in your pocket at the end of the month that can go towards any number of things.

Don’t believe what you read online, new survey says

While most singletons looking for love through a dating website often read online profiles with a healthy grain of salt, a new survey gives credence to our belief that you can’t necessarily trust what you read online.

Both sexes were found to embellish and sometimes outright lie when it comes to their personal details. Both men and women were found to be highly duplicitous when it came to how fit they were (or weren’t), with many stating that they’re much slimmer than they actually are, while women also tend to exaggerate their bust size as well.

Before you go pointing a finger at the fairer sex for exaggerating their feminine traits, men aren’t exactly blameless when it comes to other areas. The survey found that a large number of men will describe their job in glowing terms instead of what it truly is in an effort to seem more appealing – a dustman becomes a refuse disposal specialist, while someone who works in a takeaway might call themselves an Asian cuisine chef – while some will create a completely fictitious job out of whole cloth to seem more interesting, usually in the film, finance, or healthcare industries.

The research also found men often lie about their wage when filling out an online dating profile, with 40 per cent of survey respondents indicating that they may ‘enhance’ their earnings potential by as much as 20 per cent. It’s also quite common to see men pretend they have a more senior role at their place of employment in order to present themselves as more authoritative as well.

Considering online dating? Here’s a tip: be proactive

If you’re thinking about using online dating to find that special someone, dating experts say you shouldn’t just rest on your laurels once you’ve got your profile set up – be proactive and get yourself out there.

If you’re going to go through the trouble of signing up at one of the many dating sites that have proliferated in the UK, taking the time to carefully construct your online profile, sitting there and waiting to be inundated by invitations out to dinner, you’re barking up the wrong tree – or you’re just barking. There’s little point to jumping through all those hoops if you’re just going to sit there; you need to look through that site for people you feel you may be compatible with, and actually reach out and touch someone through a virtual message – not one of those electronic pokes or winks, but an actual fingers-to-keyboard message.

You most likely will not get altogether that many responses, and that’s fine; that’s why you’re doing this over the internet and not down at the local pub on a Friday night. The anonymity of the website offers you a bit of a cushion for any rejection you might encounter, so feel free to be yourself and don’t take it personally if you never hear back from someone you fancied – there’s a shedload of people out there looking for prospective mates over the internet, and the more you look, the higher the likelihood is that you’ll find someone that you ‘click’ with.

Edinburgh-based site adapts to increased tech usage

One online dating service based in Edinburgh has been fast to adapt to the increased amount of technology, such as social networking sites and smartphones, being used by its members.

The dating site, Cupid, founded by Bill Dobbie, a Scottish entrepreneur, has been growing by leaps and bounds since June of 2010, when it was first listed on the junior Alternative Investment Market.  George Elliott, the chairman of the company, told investors that the firm was currently looking into several new tech-based opportunities that could lead to an increased market share in the ironically cutthroat dating site sector.

The company, which has several niche dating sites under its umbrella, has been performing well, with its shares hovering at around 200p. This may be a significant drop from its June 2011 high of 260p, but it’s still more than three times higher than their initial 60p listing price.

If you’re a dating site aficionado, there’s a good chance you may have already looked into one of Cupid’s many offerings. They’re a worldwide company, with dating sites in several different countries such as Brazil and Germany, and also offer niche dating experiences for many types of love-seekers, such as single parents or members of the LGBT community.

The company has plans – undisclosed as of now – to spend some of the massive amounts of dosh it’s been raking in to improve website infrastructure and diversify their products. Industry analysts say that this could almost surely mean that smartphone apps for its more popular dating sites could be currently under development, or that more wide social networking integration could be on the horizon as well.

Even people with disabilities deserve a chance at love

Life can be hard with someone with a disability, even more so because it can sometimes be hard to meet a potential romantic partner – but now there’s a new dating service exclusively for those Brits with disabilities.

Founded by mother and daughter team Angela Walford and Carly Mulholland, the new speed dating service is designed for people with physical disabilities such as blidness, deafness, or other physical ailments to meet people that have something in common. Angela, 44 years old and deaf herself, met her own partner at a local club for the deaf and blind in 2011, and the experience has prompted her daughter to aid others to find their own happiness as well.

The 20 year old Carly said that her mother’s career involves working with other people with disabilities as a carer. Having spent a lot of time with her mum going to and fro in order to help these disabled individuals, Carly found that one of their chief complaints was that they felt they would be forever alone; having grown up in such an environment with her own mother, the young woman had empathy and understanding for this particular dilemma facing people with disabilities, which drove her to organise the speed-dating event alongside her mother.

The special occasion will take place on 11 July, from 6.30pm until 8.30pm, at Monkey Bizzness Adventure Play, a play centre located in Eldon Way, Hockley, which is also Carly’s place of employment.  The young woman says it will be fitted to be wheelchair-friendly for the event and that the enquiries have been strong.

Top tips for dating bliss from the experts

It’s a tough world out there, and sometimes it seems even more so when you’re going it alone without a romantic partner – but dating experts have recently come forward with some top tips when it comes to looking for love or just simply some companionship.

One of the most important things you can do is to keep a steady head on your shoulders when it comes to dating. Sure, it’s easy to get swept up in the moment when things are just getting started, but you need to keep your guard up at least a bit; getting physical too quickly or being too clingy or too available can sink a budding relationship all too easily.

Make an effort to not get so involved with your new partner that your old life gets left behind. Cutting off your old friends in order to spend time with your new special someone can backfire if your new relationship goes down in flames, and on top of that it’s just a rather sorry thing to do to friends that have been there for you through thick and thin, isn’t it?

It’s also important to not wait to the last minute to make plans or jump at every opportunity to spend time together. Men, don’t ring up your new girl on a Saturday night at 7 pm in order to make plans that evening – you should be setting things up a few days in advance at least. Likewise, if you’re getting that call at 7 pm, don’t jump out of your socks in your zeal to meet up; it makes you look desperate for attention, and no one wants that.

eHarmony security compromised

For those of you feeling safe and secure in your own little world, convinced that no one would bother hacking a dating site after going after one of the largest business-related social networking sites, think again: eHarmony has announced they’ve fallen victim to the same hacker or hackers that compromised the security of LinkedIn and posted th results on a Russian internet forum.

It was confirmed earlier this week that there was a breach of the online dating site. A ‘small fraction’ of the dating site’s users has been affected, according to eHarmony corporate communications representative, Becky Teraoka, but the number of users that might have been put at risk was not specified – though the website did confirm it had reset the passwords of anyone whose security had been breached.

Truth be told, the hackers didn’t break in and abscond with a bundle of raw passwords but a number of ‘hashes,’ which are versions of the passwords that have been encrypted with a computer algorithm.  However, the passwords can be uncovered with decoding software available to anyone for free, with the only thing standing in between a Russian hacker reading your online dating profile the relative length of your password, as longer ones take more time to crack.

Around 1.5 million of these password hashes were compromised, as they were posted on InsidePro, a password-cracking website hosted in Russia.  The same website is also allegedly responsible for the LinkedIn security breach where anywhere between 5.8 million and 6.5 million hashes were purloined and posted, though business networking site has also announced it was changing passwords and informing its members.

New site for Oxford students gets a relaunch

It looks like there’s some life in the old girl, yet: one student dating site, one of the most active of its kind in its heyday, is getting a relaunch soon.

The Oxford Romance dating site – or OxRo, as Oxford students affectionately referred to it – had originally been launched in 2008 before becoming a victim of its own success; the number of successful couples that found love or companionship effectively crippled the free website’s user base.  But now, four Oxford students have banded together to relaunch it, hoping to capture some of that early success.

Students using dating sites is nothing new; OxRo isn’t the first website dedicated to the endeavour of finding a partner.  Its predecessor, Cambridge-based CamRo, was even more successful, as both CamRo and OxRo delivered a much-needed service to the community.

Richard Neill, the site’s creator and current Trinity College, Cambridge DPhil student, said that it was established to provide an outlet to the amount of intrigue and romance that was so prevalent on campus.  Neill added that the site allowed users to forge intellectual or emotional bonds with someone else before actually dating them, leading to much more legitimate and lasting relationships than those that began in a local club.

The site has always been a labour of love, with Neill stating that he’s lost around £500 in hosting fees, mostly through events and server costs.  However, knowing that there have been more than 400 successful relationships forged on the website – not to mention the 13 weddings and one soon-to-be-born child – is ‘quite heartwarming,’ making it totally worth it to the site creator.