Online status – why its just as bad as texting

Recently I wrote about how texting is detrimental to relationships, both personal and business.  Here’s some information on why the online status of dating web sites is such a horrible idea.

 

As I said in the Texting article, you can be fooled into thinking you are in a live interaction with another party by texting.  The same is true for dating sites that display the online status.

What is an ‘online status’ anyway?

The online status is simply an indicator that someone is using the web site at the same time you are.  They are, “online” right now.  This is meant to create a sense of interaction and urgency.   Some sites not only show when someone is online, but also show when they were last online, after they have logged off.  So if someone logs in and off at 3pm, and you log in at 5pm, you can see that they were last online a couple hours ago.  You know they were ‘on’ today (and presumably saw emails, etc).  Some people may decide to write to another person simply because they are on line and they could respond more quickly.  Some sites (OKCupid) will tell you in real time if someone is viewing your profile.

Why it is so bad

What’s so bad about an online status anyway?  Well, like the texting, it creates a false sense of interaction and expectation.  If you write to a potential match and see that they have been online, your assumption is that they read your email.  You then further assume that because they have not written you back that they must be ignoring you.  “Why can’t they just say hello back or tell me they’re not interested” you think.  “My email was great and clever” you muse, “They must be a jerk if they can’t see how great I am” you think while grinding your teeth.

Some sites will even offer a “chat” option for those people who are online (OKCupid & POF).  Some sites will actually tell you how many minutes ago the person last logged in (POF).  In fact, those dame sites may offer a chat button for those individuals whom you’ve blocked.  yes, you don’t ever want to see or interact with those creepy people, but hay, maybe you want to drop everything and chat with them?

This functionality increases the bombardment of women by men, and increases the frustration of both parties.

The reality may well be:

  • The person you wrote to just received an email, clicked their phone app to read it and then went about their business.
  • They logged in, and started to read the 50+ messages they have, and haven’t even read yours yet
  • They saw your message, very much liked it, and thought that a proper response could not be written while at a stop light or at work.
  • They read your message and real life interrupted them (children, work, schedule, the light turned green)
  • Their mobile app keeps them logged in, long after they they closed the app – in fact some mobile apps for dating sites intentionally keep the users logged in so that it looks like there are more people on line than there actually are.

 

Wanting to make a good impression, I’m certainly guilty of reading a message and then responding later.

 

How Only A Glance handles this

This was taken into consideration when Only A Glance was created.  It was decided that there simply should not be an online status.  Again using the metaphor of real life interaction at a coffee shop, you would not typically know if your potential match happened to have been there a couple hours ago.  So, you are never shown if someone is online, or when they were online last.  Their personal interaction with the www.onlyaglance.com web site is none of your business and is not shown to you.  The exception is when you are already chatting with them – you’ll be able to see the timestamp of their responses, like an email.

So, no status, no frustration.

 

If you are using one of the other dating sites that show status (I believe all but Only A Glance does) then just try to ignore it.   If you can’t then welcome aboard here. 🙂