October 22, 2009

Putting the Professional Back in PR

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:19 pm by Tara Seymour

At some point in our lives every person becomes a PR professional. Whether you want to admit it or not, that choice is up to you. According to dictionary.com, “public relations is the art, technique, or profession of promoting such goodwill.”

Public relations is essentially creating a brand, standing out and keeping a good reputation solid. That is what people do everyday to represent themselves. So, where did PR get off to having such a bad reputation?

This is the problem. Everyone is doing it and not the right people. I’m beginning to realize that people don’t really understand public relations, in fact, I was 21-years-old before I truly understood what the heck PR people did. Half the people at the University of South Florida, school of Mass Communication, have no idea what it is either. People are not well informed and they turn to the bias they see on television; PR practitioners running around acting anything less than professional.

In my eyes, public relations is one of the most important jobs in the world. Public relations should make life easier and better for anyone who does business with a PR professional. However, many times this doesn’t happen. PR professionals sometimes make things too complicated for clients and make business anything but easy.

My conclusion is that there are too many bad seeds in the PR world.

Thousands of people choose a career in public relations because they think it’s easy, or that there is good money involved. Their hearts don’t beat “P-R” the way mine does, and hundreds of other professionals out there. These “bad seeds” might have good intentions, and I’m certain they are wonderful people, but they need to step it up.

Public relations is more than writing press releases and media alerts. It is about building sincere relationships with people. It’s about keeping up with PR and becoming active in the community. It is about social media and two-way communication.

Believe it or not, I know very successful PR professionals who have not a clue what is going on in social media. Call me an overachiever, but shouldn’t every great PR professional have some connection to the social media outets?

I guess this is the problem; there are hundreds of problems in PR and not many people are willing to step up to fix them. Now a day, people have specialties in this field. I even have one myself. However, I don’t believe that just because you know how to work in crisis management, or any other specialty, that that should become your only focus. In this economy, we all need to step it up. Only the diverse people will last.

I know, some people might read this and think “Oh, she is young, she has no idea what the real world is like. Once she gets into PR she will understand.” This may be true. It is correct that I really have no idea what life is like outside the student world I’ve been living in for the last 23 years. However, what I do have is an outside perspective. I can see the reputation and I can see the different patters that are developing.

PR, like any profession, has the wrong people doing the wrong job. It now takes the devoted PR professionals twice as much effort (we should be doing that anyways) to show the world how public relations is GOOD. PR can make or break a company; it is quite valuable.

There are hundreds of blogs that will continuously write about why public relations is bad. As professionals, we need to show these doubtful people how important we really are, and how great we are at doing it. In Guy Kawaski’s blog post “The top 10 Reasons Why PR Doesn’t Work,” he listed these reasons why PR needs help:

  1. The client doesn’t understand the publicity process.
  2. The scope of work is not detailed and agreed upon by both parties.
  3. The client has not been properly trained on how to communicate with the media.
  4. The client and the PR person or PR firm are not a good match.
  5. The client has not gotten results quickly enough and ends the relations too soon.
  6. PR people don’t explain the kind of publicity placements a client will most likely receive.
  7. Clients don’t realize that what happens after you get the publicity coverage is sometimes more important than the actual placement.
  8. Clients refuse to be flexible on their story angles.
  9. Clients get upset when the media coverage is not 100 percent accurate or not the kind of coverage they wanted.
  10. Clients won’t change their schedules for the media.

Kawaski is telling us what we need to do to step up. Print out the list and work hard to fix any one of these that you don’t do, or don’t do well enough. PR should never be a 9 to 5 job, it is a lifetime commitment. We are representing people. So, lets do it right.

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October 14, 2009

The Beauty In Diversity

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:04 pm by Tara Seymour

Over the last few weeks I’ve been spending time reading Idiot America, by Charles Pierce. After completing his book, I have come to the conclusion that American’s are obsessed with being the best. Everyone wants to be right, to have all the answers and to have the last piece of the puzzle. Pierce is a prime example of the American desire. He wrote an entire book on it.

Pierce makes many great points about American Idiocy, like the ridiculous exhibit of dinosaurs wearing saddles at the Creation Museum. However, I didn’t agree with everything he stated. Some of his views seemed too harsh. In many instances, he seemed to doubt the American people. It was almost as if he was giving up on his country. Instead of inspiring the people for change he made us feel insignificant.

There are many things in life that will never be discovered. Not one person holds all the answers to the world. Many people hold their own traditions that may seem odd to someone, but to someone else, it may be their entire world.

This world would not be what it is today if it weren’t for the unique belief systems that millions of people hold. I believe the unique people uniting together, through differences, to build one existence are what make this country special. There will always be people who don’t see the beauty in difference. Instead, some people will only look at others and shake their heads with disapproval.

I have no doubt that there are dumb people in this world, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are bad people. In some of Pierce’s writing, he  made some people, who made one bad decision, sound incredibly stupid. In some instances, he made those people sound slightly degraded. His book was hard to read at times, but in some instances I laughed. It was a roller coaster of emotion.

I believe we would be idiots to think that this world would be better without everyone in it (including those “dumb” American’s). This world needs unique views, unique people and diversity.

If everyone shared the same views and the same values we’d be boring- we’d be robots. Who wants that? I know I don’t. Yesterday, I was driving on a major highway in Florida when I saw a man driving beside me with chickens and turkeys in the back seat of his car.  I was shocked. A million thoughts ran through my mind. He was out of the ordinary, and I made plenty of assumptions about the man. Then, I realized, I was doing the same thing as Pierce; I placed judgment. I know that just because this man had  farm animals in the backseat of his car it doesn’t make him “stupid”. He is simply different than I am. But who am I to judge? I don’t know him…

We all have the tendency to look at people and place judgments. It is sometimes really difficult not to. I wish people would double think their judgments and question them when they occur. When it happens to me, I begin to talk myself out of it and try to become a smarter person by questioning my own thoughts.

I do believe that Pierce’s main goal was to make people think. As Pierce’s own views shattered through the pages, it was hard not to think about the world, my life and how I view society. I wouldn’t say I thoroughly enjoyed reading every point he had to make, but I will say it made me think and become more aware of my own habits, actions and thoughts.  For that, I believe he was successful. I hope people are aware that no matter what anyone thinks, people will always do what they want. There will always be people who will disagree with what we say or do. Whether we like it or not, through good choice and bad, someone will always have something to say. America may be dumb, but we are smart for having the will power to think and make decisions. It is how we utilize that power of thought that makes us who we are.

I believe that we need to have faith in diversity. We need to remember that everyone is unique. It is impossible to understand everyone. Frankly, it’s not much of our business either. If we can just smile and help make this world a better place we might be the hope this world needs.

“Why not let people differ about their answers to the great mysteries of the Universe? Let each seek one’s own way to the highest, to one’s own sense of supreme loyalty in life, one’s ideal of life. Let each philosophy, each world-view bring forth its truth and beauty to a larger perspective that people may grow in vision, stature and dedication.”- Algernon Black

October 8, 2009

The American Addiction

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:42 am by Tara Seymour

In every generation there are  new technologies that create a new sensation to the media. For the last 10 years, reality television has taken a hold on America. American’s become mesmerized when watching “real” people go through “real” experiences. As a teenager when the “reality boom” hit, I was suckered into this reality show craze. I was hooked on the “real” California lifestyle, and all the drama that came along with it. Sadly, I’ve been hooked for the last 10 years of my life. I just can’t seem to escape it.

There are millions of people just like me, who know that these “reality” shows are much more scripted than actual reality. So why do we continue to watch and talk about the shows while cheering on new ones?

I believe it is the American fantasy that doomed us from day one. Everyone wants something they can’t have. This is one reason why television became such a sensation to begin with. In television, people can escape their own lives and their own stresses for someone else’s. They can create a new reality. People usually escape into the type of reality show they wish were their own life. It becomes their own personal fantasy.

My reality favorites have always been those of the rich and famous. I started following the kids of Laguna Beach in 2004 and followed the cast as they made their way up to Los Angeles and even New York (where a spin off show was created.) To me, I found comfort in watching kids my own age go through similar experiences with their friends and relationships. However, everything in their world seemed way more glamorous and way more fun.

Some of my other favorite’s reality shows are based on love and romance like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette (this is my fairytale princess fantasy kicking in.) As a young girl, I always hoped for my happy ending with my prince charming. Since my own love life hasn’t found that happy ending (yet!) I’ve turned to television to find my piece of the puzzle.

My reality tv list goes on. I admit,  I am the typical reality-television-loving -girl and I will continue to watch all the shows that strike my fancy even though I know it isn’t “real.” I know firsthand that it isn’t real and yet I’m still sucked in.  I have worked in broadcast and I have a background in producing. I know what goes in to good television and how to get it. I know the truth behind the “reality.” So in this case, I may be the prime example of “idiot America.” But I will admit, there is a thrill that comes along with this “reality” television that I can’t explain.  It’s addicting and partially annoying.

Somewhere deep down inside of me I always hoped that the reality rumors were false. I wanted to believe that the lives of the people I was following were real. In 2007, when the Hollywood writers went on strike, and all my favorite reality shows were not being shown anymore, I knew the rumors were true. I will admit, I was sad even though I knew it along. Yet, reality shows are still amongst the favorite form of entertainment. I am one of those individuals who still crave more. In this case I’m the idiot these producers love.

The media will always be doing things that its viewers won’t always agree with. In some ways, I can see why this whole “reality” television issue irritates people. Some people find it insulting and unethical. But, I believe if reality television isn’t doing anything to hurt anyone, then what’s the harm?

American’s can be dumb from time to time, but we are human. All we want is to feel love, excitement and entertainment. So what if reality television isn’t completely real? Who are we really hurting? I believe if reality television makes you happy and you enjoy watching it then I say go for it. I know I will be!

September 30, 2009

The Media Downfall

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:49 am by Tara Seymour

For the last eight years, America has found itself in the shadows of war. As our journey through these hard times continue, questions arise on the role of the media. Are we doing enough? Is the media keeping up with the correct information? Are we showing too much? Are we showing too little? In the middle of a war, where does the media stand?

There are too many questions with very little answers. And, unfortunately there are no correct ones. We live in a very opinionated society. What may be best for one may not be best for another. But, that doesn’t mean the media shouldn’t step up and take ethical charge. In a time of war, the media needs to full heartily take on the challenge of providing knowledge to the people.

It is the media’s job to inform the public. The Society of Professional Journalist’s code of ethics is to seek the truth and report it. “The journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.” (spj.org)

If you were to conduct a poll asking the citizens of America if we were still at war, what do you think they would say? I would like to hope that most American’s would say yes, but indeed there are thousands of people who have no idea where we stand as a country.

In 2001, when terrorists attacked America, the war on terror began. People were patriotic, saluted troops and supported America. But, somewhere along the lines of our busy lives we have forgotten about this war. We have forgotten about the people and why we are at war.

I know our country has men and women fighting to keep America safe. They protect us, and they are what make America so great. But, I will admit, I am spoiled in my freedom. I sometimes forget what that means, and how lucky I am. It takes a holiday or a trip to an airport to see the soldiers in uniform, to make me remember what is going on in America today. Millions of people are doing the same thing. They forget. They have moved on in their lives and are taking freedom for granted.

As an educated individual I believe the media has a role in this. I don’t think they are living up to their potential in keeping the public informed. Years ago, the death of a soldier would make the front page of a newspaper, and now, they are placed at the bottom, almost forgotten.

Pierce quoted Louise Richardson, an official of the U.S. government, “I think most Americans are not terribly interested in foreign policy. They are interested in paying the bills and the rest of it. And then, you have your leadership telling them the simple story of good and evil. We’re good. The other guys are bad. And the media, I think, have really let us down insofar as they haven’t sought out—not necessarily me, but contrary voices. They’ve gone for the easy spokespeople.”

The media essentially decides what is important for us to hear .It’s their job to keep our country informed, educated and in remembrance for what is important.

I often wonder why celebrity gossip has become more important than the men and woman who are fighting for us overseas. Today the media talks about what sells so irrational topics become the center of attention.

I have many friends who refuse to watch American news. They believe it is bias and full of “crap”. They get their news and media from online accredited sources from countries outside the U.S. They swear it is so much better than American news.

American’s are too concerned in their own lives, many people can’t see past Friday. We are slowly losing touch with reality.
We all do it, including me. I love the media and I study the media , but I still don’t have the answers. However, I am aware that there is a problem with the way our media is prioritizing news. There are hundreds of tools the media could be utilizing to build more enthusiasm and awareness about real issues.

The media has great intention, but I’m frustrated with its future. We have so much technology and so much potential to bring greatness to our country. Knowledge is power. If we want to help create a better place for our children, and theirs to come, we need to do something. We trust the familiar faces on television and the recognized voices on the radio. Let us use it for our own good.

Let us stick to our code of ethics, but step up the game. Let us unite and bring more information, photos and videos about conflicting topics that affect the everyday American. Let us talk about big things, small things, stories from around the nation and around the world. Let us debate and create new ideas. Let us not fear stepping outside of the box.

We need to do better and become better.

Think about what you can do to contribute. Where will your media outlets lead you?

September 23, 2009

What happened to religion?

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:58 pm by Tara Seymour

Is it just me, or is religion becoming more of a problem than a place of comfort? As a child, my parents always told me “never talk politics or religion with anyone.” I always wondered why. It was during my college years that this motto really took me to heart.

People are very different. Everyone has a story and a unique background that makes them who they are. So when something comes up that may insult their heritage or background, people can get really offensive and fast. People have the natural ability to judge others. Today’s religions are nothing but stereotypes judged from one group to another. So what do we do? Do we talk about it and risk the possibility of hate and/or crime? Do we ignore the differences and possibly hide faith,which is apart of who you are?

There is no solution. I was brought up to keep my faith quiet. Even though there are billions of people with the same belief system as me, the fear of people judging me made my family scared. I always hated this. We live in America! The land of the free where religion isn’t supposed to be judged. And yet, it is. No matter what the Constitution may say people’s actions are speaking louder than words.

Pierce quoted Mr. Madison, “the latent causes of faction are (thus) sown in every man, and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points…have in turn divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for common good.”

What Mr.Madison says is beautiful. We came to America to get away from conformity and strict rules. We came here to have a better life and to be free to make choices on how we live our lives. Religion has gotten out of control and somewhere along the lines people are using religion as an excuse for their behavior. People are forcing themselves, many times through crime, on other people.

Religion has made people scared of other religions. People are judging other religions based on a few bad apples of that culture. People over look what their beliefs have instilled and instead of loving and respecting others for their uniqueness; people hate. When the AIDS epidemic began in the 1980s, people ran away from those with the disease. There weren’t many hospitals, hospice, churches or other areas of prayer that would welcome them. When those individuals with AIDS needed help we all ran. No one was there for them.

Even in the modern world we live in today, there is very little diversity in the religions. Calendars rarely include the holidays of Judaism, Buddhist, Hindus ect. If we live in such an open world why aren’t these people’s beliefs being heard?

In the end all we have is each other. If we look back at 911 we ALL felt the same fears, we ALL lost loved ones, we ALL were effected. Every single person. It doesn’t matter where you are from, what your race is, your ethnicity, your age or your religion. We were all scared. For the first time, in a long time, religions came together. People no longer cared about the differences. We just wanted peace. Where did it go?

Instead of judging your neighbor, talk to them. If they have a different faith than you, take some time to learn about it. Many faiths are very similiar and yet we find reasons to “hate” one another.

“Love your neighbor as thyself.”  This can create great change.

September 16, 2009

The conspiracy of it all

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:49 pm by Tara Seymour

The American culture is heavily consumed by conspiracy. We are surrounded by gossip, secrets and mystery. To me, it is no surprise that the secret legends of our country are questioned. But, that is one thing that makes our country so great; the power of thought. As I continue reading Pierce’s novel on the idiocy of America, I began to develop my own pattern of thought.

America is a leading nation. Many countries around the world look up to the practices of our founders. Countries have changed their style of government to mold themselves to be a little more like the USA. It should be a great compliment to our foundation.

So now, no longer is the US the only country based off secrets and conspiracies. Other countries are now taking on the same interests and habits as the American’s. Conspiracies are developed through human nature. It is not just the citizens of America that believe in the possibilities of secrets and hidden truths. Almost our entire human race has history that can be traced back to some type of conspiracy.

What bothers me the most about Pierce’s writing is that he tends to focus on the “bad” issues that have developed throughout the American history. The truth is, no one is perfect. We, as American’s, have come a long way in our journey. We have created a place of hope for people all around the world. Yes, there may be conspiracies, problems, issues and secrets that surround the American culture. But that is life. Europe, Asia, Australia and all the other continents and countries have problems too. Humans are meant to make mistakes, but that is what makes us so great. We have the power to learn, change and grow. Idiot America is leadership. There are many people in under-privileged countries that look at our society and wish they had half the things that we have. Through it all, we are lucky. We are blessed to be a part of one of the leading nations in the world.

I believe that it should be celebrated. I believe that there are mistakes, and conspiracies. But I also believe in the change that we can make. Let us stay positive and learn from what is wrong and make it right.

For what we now know about our culture, let us make a change. Let us make ethical decisions inside and outside of the work place. We should use our technology and media to make that positive change. Let us be a guiding inspiration to other countries.

In a world based around money, this task may seem difficult. People want to feel inspired. They want to feel a change inside of them. I look at Oprah and see her as an incredible role model to the world and the workplace. She makes ethical, smart decisions. She tells the truth and she does things for the people. She has a warm heart and gives to those in need. In our society, people care too much about money and not enough about the world around us.

So what can we do? If everyone can make better ethical decisions, this world can be a better and smarter place. It only takes one person to make a difference. We can all be that person to inspire someone else to make a change.

There are tools all around us to help. When you twitter, think about your audience. Send out optimistic tweets from time to time, tell a joke and make someone’s day.

A few years ago Dove created a new campaign about true beauty. They spoke out against the traditional methods of advertising. It was truly inspiring. It is what made me want to work in the media and make a difference. The campaign was all about true beauty from the inside out. It didn’t show the perfect size 00 women in their advertisements. It showed real people every shape and size. That is true beauty.

People are so affected by the media. Many people don’t even realize it until it’s too late. I refuse to let this happen. We need more Oprah Winfrey’s, Ellen DeGeneres’, Taylor Swift’s and Martin Luther King’s. We need more people to start picking up the slack from everyone else. The media controls the world. So, let us become smarter and become someone’s hero.

September 9, 2009

“Anything can be true if someone says it loudly enough.” – Charles Pierce

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:49 pm by Tara Seymour

As Charles Pierce continues his journey through Idiot America he examines every ounce of our American culture. When our founders came to America, they were trying to get away from the bias from their previous country. As Pierce describes in chapter three, “The founders wanted to raise a nation of educated people. But they were not trying to do so by establishing an orthodoxy of their own to replace the one at which they were chipping away.”

After all the hopes and dreams of our founders we still became a country surrounded in bias. The founders believed we would be different, and in many ways we are; however, we tend to lose sight of what is important. Our society is based on competition. At every age, shape and form someone is trying to out-do the person next to them. Fame has taken over our values and morals. Thanks to the internet, people’s values are tested everyday just in hopes for their five minutes of fame. Anyone can become a star through Youtube, Myspace, Twitter and Facebook. Anyone can say anything about anyone, and now too many people are abusing the tools that can be empowering our country.

When I read the section on the victims of Flight 93 I had to flip back and re-read the section. I was shocked by the power of communication, and how quickly a great momentum turned into a conspiracy. A blogger named Alec Rawls heard about the conspiracy theory of the memorial, and used technology to reach out to the public. He did research and published a book all within a short time. This conspiracy developed into an issue in the community. The memorial had changed because of one blogger.

Pierce said, “It is, of course, television that has enabled Idiot America to run riot within modern politics and all forms of public discourse. It’s not that there is less information on television than there once was. In fact, there is so much information that ‘fact’ is now defined as something believed by so many people that television notices their belief, and truth is measured by how fervently they believe it.”

American’s love to be entertained and the media is doing whatever it takes to make sure that it happens. We are more concerned about the latest celebrity gossip than what is going on in the world. Even political issues are being twisted and turning into celebrity gossip. In 2004, a Zogby poll discovered that 57% of the undecided voters in that year’s election would rather have a beer with George Bush than with John Kerry. Now, as interesting as this may be in a discussion with your friends, shouldn’t we be polling on the issues? When did having a beer with a future president become a serious media topic?

Over the years America has turned into “pop” culture. We are forgetting the importance and basics that make this country great. We can get so caught up in the “what ifs” that we begin to believe things before ever finding out the truth.

As public relations practitioners, we have the power and responsibility to use the tools: blogs, television, internet, newspapers and magazines to bring people to their common senses. We can help make people think and question the thousands of messages we see everyday. There are millions of smart, well educated people who have gotten lost in  the “gossip” because it’s easy. Not many people step up to the challange to help make people stop and think about what is important, right, fair and true.

For the rest of our lives people will continue to make bad decisions and say ‘stupid’ things. It is our challenge to remind the world of where we came from, how we got here and what we can do to make a difference. Idiot America doesn’t have to be. It’s up to us to make the change.

September 2, 2009

Idiot America

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:25 pm by Tara Seymour

During my first look at Idiot America, by Charles Pierce, I didn’t know what to expect. I was intrigued by his topic on “the stupidity of America,” but how stupid could we really be? As American’s, we are one of the world’s top producers, and we have a high percentage of college graduates. Some of the most amazing discoveries and inventions take place on U.S. soil.

In his introduction, I found myself at the edge of my seat. He begins his demonstration by explaining the scene in the Creation Museum. Families are walking around carefully looking at all the exhibits, on the biblical history, without any concern for what is being represented. There are dinosaurs wearing saddles, dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark and a new Eden. Meanwhile, none of the guests stop and hesitate to think about these new exhibits. They leave the museum without questioning why the dinosaurs have saddles on, and how their weight was supported on Noah’s Ark. This is Idiot America.

At that moment it all clicked. As American’s, we are some of the most educated people in the world, yet we can be oblivious to the important things around us. Sometimes, we can get away with the impossible.

The average American will trust unreliable sources. Anyone who claims to be an expert, no matter what their knowledge may be, becomes one. As Pierce said, “If everyone is an expert, then nobody is.” With the rise of the internet, anyone can become the new leader in any trend. Technology has made it easy for any person to say anything and believe whatever is being stated. Social media sites such as: Twitter, Facebook and Myspace have made communication too easy. In many ways this is a huge benefit for our society, but in other ways, we are losing sight in face-to-face communication.

Pierce believes that Idiot America isn’t a new trend. The internet hasn’t made us anymore stupid. This stupidity has been here since the birth of our country. It can be pinpointed back to the 1700’s. So when will we become smarter? When will we start thinking for ourselves?

Before the start of this book, I believed American’s were fairly smart. I believed we had almost everything figured out; however, now I see we have a long ways to go. Maybe, if more people took the time to read about the patterns of America’s idiocy we can grow and move forward. There may be hope for us after all, but be careful, it would be silly to believe everything that Pierce has to say. No matter who is speaking, we need to learn how to think for ourselves.

July 16, 2009

The Dating Scene

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:41 am by Tara Seymour

The Dating Scene[1]

The Dating Scene

Tara Seymour, Chelsea Grint and Phoebe O’Brien

July 16, 2009

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore the different trends in the dating scene.

Objectives

  • To explore the different impacts of first impressions.
  • To investigate the habits of people in the dating scene.
  • To understand how dating can develop into a relationship.

Methodology

Our method used was an online survey that questioned dating habits and trends.  The population that we drew our sample from included men and women of all ages who are internet users. This population was appropriate because the range of variation was wide and allowed us to widen our scope of investigation. The sample was selected for convenience. We chose to send the survey to people on our Facebook accounts and our USF email accounts.  We had confidence that we would get a wide variety of sufficient responses. Our sample is representative of the young adult population, but not necessarily the population as a whole. Most of the respondents were women.  The results are not truly representative because of the lack of equal proportion in gender.

We began our survey with a screening question.  If the respondent was married or engaged, they were directed to the end of the survey.  When all of the surveys were completed, we reviewed them and disregarded the incomplete or blank surveys.  Approximately 400 people were contacted and we had 121 responses.  Our response rate was 34%.  The timeframe of our research was Sunday, July 5 to Sunday, July 12, 2009.  The survey consisted of 20 questions.  We did not use any form of compensation to increase the response rate.  We verbally followed up with individuals in hopes of increasing response rate.  The respondents were not exposed to any stimuli.  Our sample was roughly between the ages 18 and 30. The majority of our respondents were Caucasian (84%), and 63% were female.

Results

First Impressions

Through our screening question we found that 98% of the respondents are single and have never been married, 1% of respondents are divorced, and 1% are separated.

We found that most respondents are interested in dating individuals between 1-3 years older or 1-3 years younger than themselves.  61.5% of respondents were interested in dating someone 1-3 years older than themselves, 41.7% of respondents were interested in dating someone 1-3 years younger, and 15.6% of respondents showed no preference.

Physical attraction is what initially attracts most respondents to another individual.  50% of respondents chose physical attraction as what initially attracts them to another person.

Most respondents are attracted to another person’s eyes and smile.  88.5% of respondents were attracted to the smile and 87.5% of respondents were attracted to eyes.  Other attractive characteristics include height and build.

Respondents are most attracted to another person’s smile. 47.9% respondents chose the smile as what they are attracted to most out of all characteristics.

Most respondents believe that initial chemistry is very important in making a first impression.  60.9% said initial chemistry is very important.

Not at all important Not very important Somewhat important Very important
Initial Chemistry 1.1% (1) 2.2% (2) 35.9 (56) 60.9 (56)

Most individuals meet dating matches through their friends and family.  88.5% of respondents pursue personal relationships through friends and family.  80.2% of respondents meet other people at school.

Half of the respondents felt comfortable approaching someone they were interested in. 50.5% respondents claimed that they were somewhat comfortable to approach an individual while 32.6% of respondents claimed that they were not very comfortable.

Not at all comfortable Not very comfortable Somewhat comfortable Very comfortable
Comfort level 2.1% (2) 32.6% (31) 50.5% (48) 14.7% (14)

Habits

Most respondents are comfortable giving their phone number to someone they are interested in. 51.6% claimed that they were somewhat comfortable giving out their phone number while 39.6% claimed that they were very comfortable giving out their phone number.

Not at all comfortable Not very comfortable Somewhat comfortable Very comfortable
Comfort level 1.1% (1) 7.7% (7) 51.6% (47) 39.6% (36)

Most respondents have approached someone they were interested in at a party or at school. 76.8% have approached individuals at school, and 72.6% of respondents have approached someone at a party.

Most respondents claim that they have not been on a first date in the last month.  64.2% of respondents have not been on a first date within the last month while 27.4% of respondents have been on 1-2 first dates in the last month.

On average, the respondents claimed that the other person paid on the first date.  Of all the female respondents, 80% said the male paid for the first date. Other respondents said that it depends on who requested the date.

Most respondents claim that they are somewhat comfortable with kissing on the first date. 46.2% of respondents are somewhat comfortable kissing on the first date while 4.3% of respondents are not at all comfortable with kissing on the first date.

Not at all comfortable Not very comfortable Somewhat comfortable Very comfortable
Comfort level 4.3% (4) 18.3% (17) 46.2% (43) 31.2% (29)

Relationship Development

Most respondents claim it takes 3-4 dates to open up about personal topics to their date. 44.2% of respondents can open up within 3-4 dates while 35.8% of respondents open up within 1-2 dates. Other respondents claimed that it depends on who they are with and their chemistry level.

Most respondents are somewhat deterred from dating someone who is willing to move faster in a relationship.  66.3% of respondents are somewhat deterred from dating someone who is willing to move faster in a relationship.

Not at all deterred Somewhat undeterred Somewhat deterred Very much deterred
Deterrence level 11.6% (11) 18.9 (18) 66.3% (63) 3.2% (3)

Personal Background Information

Most respondents claimed to be young adults in their 20’s.

Most respondents taking the survey claimed to be female.  63.2% respondents are female while 36.8% of respondents are male.

Most of the respondents taking the survey were Caucasian.  83.9% of respondents were Caucasian while7.5% of respondents were Hispanic.

Most respondents claimed that it is not a priority to date within their race.  35.8% of respondents said that it is not very important to date someone within their race.

Not at all important Not very important Somewhat important Very important
Importance 25.3% (24) 35.8% (34) 33.7% (32) 5.3% (5)

Summary and Conclusions

Based on our analysis we discovered that first impressions are very important in the dating process.  We found that first impressions are impacted by physical attraction and initial chemistry.  The physical characteristic that attracted people most was the smile.  Most people prefer to date someone within a three-year range, either younger or older than them. Most people are somewhat comfortable approaching people they are interested in through friends and/or family.

A good number of people are somewhat comfortable giving their phone number to someone they met in school or through friends.  Within the last month most individuals have not been on a first date.  However, when they do go on a date it is usually the other person that pays, and it is mostly men who pay.  Many people are somewhat comfortable kissing on the first date.

Most individuals open up with personal information between three to four dates.  The majority of people are somewhat deterred from continuing a relationship if the other person is willing to move faster.

June 21, 2009

Social Media Dating Interview Project

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:19 pm by Tara Seymour

Social Media Dating Interview Project

Social Media Dating Interview Project

By: Chelsea Grint, Tara Seymour, and Phoebe O’Brien

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to investigate how individuals portray themselves while engaging in social media when trying to find a personal relationship.

Objectives

  1. To explore why individuals decide to use social media dating.
  2. To understand how individuals explore social media, including which ones they chose to use and if their experiences have promoted further use or deterrence.
  3. To learn the guidelines individuals have for themselves when communicating online and selecting dates.
  4. To find out how honest individual portrayals are (including profiles and conversation topics).
  5. To explore whether participants reveal their online dating experiences with friends and/or family.

Methodology

Our investigation began with brainstorming objectives and questions to answer our social media dating inquiries.  After brainstorming we made the decision on five objectives and 13 questions, and we organized these questions according to the objective it would support.  We then separated and each conducted a personal, in depth audio interview, with one person of our choice for a total of three interviews.  Tara interviewed Mike on June 9 for 23 minutes, Phoebe interviewed Shaune on June 17 for six minutes and Chelsea interviewed Robert on June17 for seven minutes.  The technology used for this investigation included audacity, microphones, laptops, lame file, box.net, a camera for back up (Chelsea) and a hand held recording device for back up (Tara).

Results with quotes

  1. Individuals decide to use social media dating for a number of reasons: the feeling of loneliness, the individual(s) has moved to new area and does not know many people, they are tired of the bar scene or the ways they have tried dating previously, and the individual can get to know who they are going out with before meeting them (including similar interests, likes and dislikes).
  • Shaune said, “I was living in a town where I didn’t know anybody and I wanted to meet people.”
  • Mike Said, “I figured I could see who a person really was before I actually met them. I figured if they were being truthful on the site about who they were then I could essentially go by that and see if I could find something compatible before I even met them.”
  • Rob said, “I don’t know, there’s no any one reason specifically I guess.  I don’t know, it was after about semester, I was single and I just kind of put something out there and saw what was going to happen.  All the means I was using earlier weren’t really yielding any new results anymore so I figured I would give this a shot, something new and different.”
  1. Our personal interviews revealed two Match.com users (Mike and Shaune), and one Craig’s list user (Rob).  All three users were part of facebook and myspace, and Mike used these on accident. Shaune was slightly discouraged with the online dating process and the unfamiliarly of the individuals she was communicating with. Rob posted a few ads on Craig’s List and was not deterred from trying again. Mike had good experiences, enjoyed himself and had fun for a year and a half.
  • Shaune said, “Just meeting people and going on dates with people that I really wasn’t interested in, because meeting them in person, they weren’t really what I wanted and having to sit through a date with them which was a bummer.”
  • Rob said, “Nothing tremendously positive or negative actually.  Just kind of middle of the road, middling results overall. Nothing to persuade me. I would return if the need arises.”
  • Mike said, “I’ve had probably three or four good experiences, umm, but just either geared towards either bad timing. The problem is, I ran into a lot of people who were just in a different point in their life than I was so nothing could really come about it.”
  1. The guidelines that our interviewees had while communicating and choosing dates differed. Shaune wanted to have fun and wasn’t interested in a serious relationship because she is young. Mike wanted a more meaningful long-lasting relationship and was hoping the social media outlets would guide him to that outcome. Mike’s dad was on Match and had success, so Mike did not look elsewhere for other resources. He paid initially for match.com’s services but was tricked into his payments for a year and a half. On match.com, if you do not cancel after the selected term; it automatically charges the credit card for a continuous term. Rob had tried online dating because he felt nothing else was working. He was not clear what type of relationship he was seeking. Rob used Craig’s list because it was free and interesting.  Rob had guidelines about being cautious when giving out personal information, and he did not pay.
  • Rob said, “No I haven’t really paid. I feel there is a fair number of quality resources that are available for free that you can engage in without paying for.”
  • Shaune said, “I’m concerned that I might meet someone who is crazy and that could physically hurt me.”
  • Mike said, “I did use myspace back when it first came out because I noticed a lot of girls were messaging me with corny pick-up lines and all that stuff and I was like Hey! I didn’t know this could be a dating thing.  But match, yes, I paid for a year and a half.  It’s like 100 bucks for six months or something like that. And, um, I tried it because they had this six month guarantee.”
  • Shaune said, “The only sites I knew where you could um…you know fill out a profile, and the other people and to really find out about the person, you had to pay. I didn’t come across any sites that were free.”
  • Mike said, “The concerns I have are about people lying, people not really being who they are.”
  1. All three individuals were overall honest while portraying themselves online. Rob did not have a profile, but he answered a few ads and posted his own advertisement on Craig’s List about what he was looking for in a mate. He was truthful and honest during conversation with new individuals. Shaune and Mike were very honest about their personalities on their profiles. However, the photo use was varied. Shaune chose only to show herself from the neck up while Mike showed full body images of himself. Mike also had lengthy paragraphs on his page describing detailed characteristics of himself and what he was looking for out of love and life.
  • Mike said, “I believe you should be really up front with who you are as a person or you are just lying to yourself, and you will never find what you are looking for.”
  • Shaune said, “I was honest. I tried to come across as fun and fun loving, because at that point in my life I was really just looking to have a good time and to party. I mean, for the possibility of finding a love match, like a boyfriend but more so just to have fun, so I really played up the fun side of my personality.”
  • Rob said, “I try and be honest about it.  Anything that happens is not surreptitious by its nature, I don’t try to hide anything or embellish anything.  But obviously, you’ll subconsciously, I guess, play up good traits while downplaying your bad traits.  But it’s nothing I’d try and downplay.  It’s not like I have a giant goiter that I won’t mention, I’m fairly normal looking.”
  1. When it comes to other people knowing about their pursuits in social media daiting the individuals seemed to be fairly open about the topic, but only if social media dating was brought up in a conversation.
  • Rob said,“I wouldn’t deny it.  I can’t fabricate a story about how I met somebody.  You know?  I’m not hiding it but I’m not obviously telling everybody about it.”
  • Shaune said, “It’s not something I hide. It’s also not something I advertise. But I don’t have any problem sharing it.”
  • Mike said, “All my family members know and only my close friends know about my online thing because people I don’t talk to on a regular basis I don’t feel like they need to know, so there is no point.”

Conclusion

All participants were honest about what they were looking for and in portraying themselves through their choice of social media. The individuals had their own personal reasons for using the social media outlet; all had the desire to meet others and decided to use this new avenue because they were discouraged with the norm.  Each participant went on sites that matched what they were looking for and used the sites reputations for guidelines.  The in depth interview gave us a different perspective about this topic. Previously we concluded that people were very private about social media dating. But here, with the interviews, people became more open and honest about their motives. The interview took us from observation assumptions to the reality of what each member was thinking and feeling during their.

Appendix-transcript and copy of interview guide

Interview guide questions

1.  Why did you start using social media dating?

2.  What motivates you to engage in social media dating?

3.   What concerns do you have with social media dating?

4.  How open are you about sharing your personal information with others?

5.  Do your family and/or friends know about your social media dating pursuits?

6.  Why or why not?  Explain.

7.  Have you had any good experiences that encouraged you to continue social media dating?  What are they?

8.  Have you had any bad experiences that have deterred you from using social media dating?  What are they?

9.  What are you looking for when you search?

10.  Do you pay to engage in social media dating? Why or why not?

11.  What sites do you use?

12.  What do you think about these sites in terms of finding dates?

13.  How would you describe the person you portray yourself to be online?

Interview Transcripts:

Transcript:

Phoebe and Shaune

Phoebe:    Why did you start using social media dating?

Shaune:   Because I was living in a town where I didn’t know anybody and I wanted to meet people.

Phoebe: What motivated you to engage in social media dating?

Shaune: Um ….I’m motivated by the want to meet new people, and potentially a future love match.

Phoebe: What concerns do you have with social media dating?

Shaune: I’m concerned that I might meet someone who is crazy and that could physically hurt me.

Phoebe: How open are you about sharing your personal information with others online, like how much do you share. And what kind of things do you share?

Shaune: Um, I don’t share a whole lot. Just my basic information and my interests and a snapshot of my personality and I’ll share more as I get to know the person, in person.

Phoebe: Do your friends and your family know about your social media dating. Like do your friends know that you have done online dating?

Shaune: It’s not something I hide. It’s also not something I advertise. But I don’t have any problem sharing it.

Phoebe: Um, have you had any good experiences that have caused you to continue on that? And if so did you have any success, or anything that was positive?

Shaune: No, I didn’t have any successful relationships as an outcome. I did meet some interesting people and it did allow me to meet people in a place where I didn’t know anybody. And I would consider doing it in the future if I were not currently in a relationship.

Phoebe: Have you had any bad experiences that kind of scared you away from it…um…or freaked you out? If so, what are they?

S: Ummm. No not any really bad ones that scared me.  Just meeting people and going on dates with people that I really wasn’t interested in, because meeting them in person, they weren’t really what I wanted and having to sit through a date with them which was a bummer….but.

Phoebe: Ummm….when you’re searching online, what are you looking for, what were you looking for?

Shaune: I was looking for ummm..just a potential, maybe someone that …. Possibly someone to be in a relationship with, but more just to meet new people and date new people that I normally wouldn’t date or find.

Phoebe: Did you pay to engage in the social media dating?

Shaune: Umm..Yes, I did.  I did pay for like 3 months I think.

Phoebe: Why did you pay?

Shaune: Cause you had to. I mean, there was no…..

Phoebe: I mean, did you go on any sites that were free or did you decide that maybe ..or like did it affect the quality of the person you might meet if you went on a site that you had to pay?

Shaune: Ummm, no. That really didn’t cross my mind. I just…the only sites I knew where you could um…you know fill out a profile, and the other people and to really find out about the person, you had to pay. I didn’t come across any sites that were free.

Phoebe: Ok, What sites did you go to?

Shaune: Match.com.

Phoebe: Ok, What do you think about match.com in terms of finding dates. Do you think it’s legit or a scam, or cheesy or great?  What do you think about it?

Shaune: I think match.com is more for people looking for flings. I don’t know….maybe not. I think that match.com is as selective as some other websites.

Phoebe: How would you describe the person you portrayed yourself to be online? Basically, were you honest, and what parts of yourself did you accent?

Shaune: Uh…I was honest. I tried to come across as fun and fun loving, because at that point in my life I was really just looking to have a good time and to party. I mean, for the possibility of finding a love match, like a boyfriend but more so just to have fun, so I really played up the fun side of my personality.

Phoebe: Were you honest about your age and your status?

Shaune: Yes I was honest about everything.

Phoebe: Ok, Thank you!

Transcript:

Tara and Mike

Tara: I’m here today interviewing Mike on how he engages in social media while trying to find a personal relationship. Hi Mike! How are you today?

Mike: Hi Tara! I’m doing well. It’s good to be here.

Tara: Good, well my first question for you is why did you start using social media dating?

Mike: Ok, essentially, I was in a relationship for two years. I actually met the girl online as well, but it was through myspace actually. When it first started up I was like oh whatever I will give it a try. But I didn’t really consider that an online dating thing, I just met someone through myspace. But I really didn’t know the person or anything I just randomly started…I just met them, and then I met up with them at USF actually. I essentially just talked to them and all of that stuff. We were in a relationship for two years. Um, but then they ended up not liking the things that I liked. Towards the end of the relationship it was just a completely different person than when I first starting seeing. So, essentially what I did was talk to my dad about it, and he mentioned he had used match.com, and he had met a whole bunch of people and he was really liking it. So, he told me to try it out. So I tried it out and essentially after that, I figured I’d try it out because I figured I could see who a person really was before I actually met them. I figured if they were being truthful on the site about who they were then I could essentially go by that and see if I could find something compatible before I even met them. So, I guess that’s my answer for that question I suppose.

Tara: Great, Ok so, what motivates you to engage in social media dating?

Mike: Um, essentially to try and find someone who is…I don’t know…just has similar thoughts as me. When I’m looking for someone that I want to be with in a relationship I want someone I’m compatible with in the sense of we like to do a lot of the same things and not just physical attraction or something like that. I want to actually be able to do things with the person and both people want to do them and enjoy them. I mean I guess, motivation is to find that. I mean most relationships I have been in personally they have turned out to, I don’t know, we like the same things but we don’t like a lot of the same things. So I want to try and find something to where we like most of the same things and it’s a healthy relationship in that sense. I don’t know, I guess that’s it.

Tara: Good, well what concerns do you have with online dating or social media dating?

(Mikes: Oh so you hold the microphone)

Mike: Um the concerns I have are about people lying, people not really being who they are. Because, an online dating thing you have pictures and you have descriptions of themselves. A lot of the people that I have met online um, not a lot but some of the people I have met online, they haven’t looked what there pictures were or they end up not really being what they saying they were online. So, it’s easy to weed those people out because you can meet them in person and if you don’t like them then not see them ever again or whatever it’s no real big deal. I guess people just not being truthful about it. So, yeah…

Tara: How open are you about sharing your personal information with others?

Mike: On the website?

Tara: Yes.

Mike: Oh, umm, like when I first talk to someone? Or, just like writing about my profile?

Tara: Um, in general for both like on your profile and then when you, you start to get to know someone, start communicating with them.

Mike: Oh well I’m pretty open with who I am as a person. I believe you should be really up front with who you are as a person or you are just lying to yourself, and you will never find what you are looking for. I mean, if you are not truthful to yourself… you have to be truthful to yourself before you are truthful to other people. So, I mean, I am very open about it.. When you are typing in your profile you want to make sure you are typing in every single thing that you want because, you know, if you are typing in other things that other people want than you’re not really going to get what you want, so I type everything about what I like and what I feel and when I initially talk to someone if I feel they are worth the time and I feel that they are something that I like then I open even more or according to how far it goes, you know?

Tara: Do your family and or friends know about your social media use media dating use?

Mike: Some do, as I told you earlier my dad obviously introduced me to online dating thing. So he was the one who told me about it and encouraged me to do it. And he has actually been in a relationship now for almost two years of meeting a woman online. So um, I think they all know. All my family members know and only my close friends know about my online thing because people I don’t talk to on regular bases I don’t feel like they need to know, so there is no point. It’s like hey! How are you? by the way…online dating! You know, it doesn’t really make any sense. It’s not really a conversation starter unless it comes up in a conversation. If it comes up than I don’t mind saying it, not really ashamed of it I suppose. It’s becoming a pretty commonality these days.

Tara: Have you had any good experiences that encourage you to continue social media dating? And what are they?

Mike: Um, what are they? Um, I have had…I’ve met some promising people, I really have. I have met a lot of people I’ve dated social…I was on match.com for a year and a half…um, before I cancelled my membership and I met a lot of really cool people and there were a lot of people who were really what I was looking for um, but I met a lot of people that really were what I was looking for. And um, I already forgot the question, so what was the question again?

Tara: What were your good experiences?

Mike: Oh good experiences, good experiences! Ok, um, yeah, the good experiences, um… you know, I’ve had probably three or four good experiences, umm, but just either geared towards either bad timing. The problem is, I ran into a lot of people who were just in a different point in their life than I was so nothing could really come about it, um, or like, I liked everything about them but like they just had a few things about them I didn’t like. Um, which doesn’t make me classify them, you know, as a bad experience but just that they aren’t everything that I want. So like, I don’t know if I necessarily want to pursue all my time in it. And, uh, but yeah, I definitely had some good experiences. Um, I uh, I cancelled my membership…I didn’t cancel my membership because I wasn’t necessarily finding what I wanted I cancelled it because I uh, I graduated and I don’t know where I’m going to be in the next year or so and I didn’t want to necessarily investing the money in it, especially in these economic times…so that was my main thing. Money was probably the main thing there was a lot of other stuff, but not because it’s not fun. I don’t know if that answers your question. I guess so.

Tara: That was good. Have you had any bad experiences that have deterred you from using social media dating and what are they?
Mike: What are they? Was the first one what are they too?

Tara: You did a good job answering the question, so just like if you have had any bad experiences what happened to make it bad?

Mike: Oh oh, ok um, was I suppose to do it for the first one too though?

Tara: You did good, you did great

Mike: Um, let see the bad experiences, I have had some bad experiences. Um, so for one thing I’m a very in-shape person um, I value my fitness very much, and um… I am sure most people have experienced with myspace and facebook in general uh, it is referred to as the “myspace pose” or the “facebook pose” where people take these weird angles where it like kinda gets their face but not their body, so it essentially. I ran across some of those where the profile is done alright um and they have pretty faces and stuff but they’ve been kinda iffy on the pictures, but I will give them a shot anyways and they just end up being nothing like I said earlier. I had one experience one time where I met this girl and um, we went and got tea and we walked around for a little while. And the entire time she had told me on the phone that um, cuz she wasn’t very talkative on the phone. She was like “oh don’t worry I’m a lot better in person, I’m a lot better in person.” So I was like ok I will meet her in person. I meet her in person and um yeah, she was mute like couldn’t talk like couldn’t…it was just horrible, I had to start every single conversation the entire night. And it was just, it was just like really annoying. I mean, I wouldn’t say it would deterrent me because I’m like ok well obvious that person wasn’t necessarily lying or necessarily truthful. You know, so um, things clearly they weren’t who they were saying they were. That was a bad experience. Oh, oh, oh I have another bad experience. How are we on time? Essentially I was with this girl for a couple of months I dated her. She turned out to be a complete psycho like, she was okay, it turned out she was turning out she was giving me out everything that I wanted. She said she recognized my personality type and she was doing that because she knew what type of stuff I liked um, but then one day out of the blue she was like “I don’t want to see you anymore.” It was a complete train wreck. Because, it was like you train your entire life that when you find something that is everything that you want, that is generally what you…ok you are suppose to be happy that is what you are suppose to go after. You are like ok great, this is what I want this is what everyone said it was suppose to be like this is the feeling you are suppose to have. Even after having that it still ended so that was kind of like a deterrent. Cuz I’m like Ok well, if I could have everything and it was perfect and it still didn’t work out then what the hell is the point? You know, so that was my worst experience with it and that was probably one of the most recent ones so….I’d say there is a couple. Those are my two ones I could remember the most. I could give you other ones and they aren’t that bad. I don’t know how much time you have. There was another one where the girl just wasn’t really going anywhere in life and it wasn’t really a deterrent really but it wasn’t a good experience. It was kind of hard because she really liked me but I realized she really wasn’t what I was looking for so it was kind of hard to tell her no and I felt bad. And I was like do I really want to do this again? Do I want to get involved in this again? That was actually the first one I met off of match.com awhile ago. Obviously I kept doing it if I was on for a year and a half so uh, ok those are good ones. You got three.

Tara: Very good! So, what are you looking for when you do a search?

Mike: When I do a search? Well, most of these sites they have something for a mutual search um, so essentially I have all these questions when you first join the website, what you like, what your interest are and all of that stuff. I always do mutual searches. They usually give you a percent meter of how much percent you match the person. I usually go by that and when I get that. What I look for…can I say what I actually look for in the profile? Is that what the question is? Once I do that and see they match me a certain percent great, whatever. Then I look at their profile and see how detailed they are, how much they are explaining about themselves. Generally what I’ve noticed is if somebody types a novel in their profile they are generally a pretty outgoing person. I, myself, type a novel as well. I’m a pretty outgoing person and I like to talk as it is probably relevant in this video. But um, I look for if they are really descriptive, if their grammar is well, if they can type, if they sound smart, if they seem like they are putting sentences together, how much they type, if it is relevant, if its not just like… oh gosh I have pet peeves when I do searches: if people use all caps, or they don’t make full sentences, or if they have one really long run on sentence, of it they have no grammar. It absolutely drives me crazy. and um, so essentially I look for. Obviously interest, if they are interested in the same things as me and my activities I like to do if they have the same activities that they like. If it is the same because then obviously I can see I can go off and do something with this person on a regular basis and they won’t be like why are we don’t that I don’t want to do that again. They will be like ok great, lets go! Because they like to do it as well. I guess those are some things I search. Obviously there looks that is kind of the first thing…back track. The first thing that draws you in is there picture. Obviously if they are not what you are looking for picture-wise than you don’t really search that further. Unless they have a really good opening statement where you are like wholly crap they sound pretty cool. And then you will look at it. Um, because that is an attractive thing as well if they are really intelligent and not necessarily like super attractive to you. That is just as attractive to me is someone being intelligent and being able to speak well. They don’t have to be drop dead gorgeous if they are really smart. I guess there are compensative factors when you are looking for someone. You weigh the pros and the cons it’s is kind of the same thing when you are doing your search.

Tara: Do you pay to engage in social media dating? Why or why not?

Mike: Do I pay? Well yeah, match is a paying website. So, myspace and facebook those aren’t paying websites but I do know of people who have talked to people on those. Like I said earlier in the interview I met this girl I dated for two years on myspace before they had all these crazy restrictions like they have now. But match, yes, I paid for a year and a half. It’s like 100 bucks for six months or something like that. And, um, I tried it because they had this six month guarantee. Match has a six month guarantee if you don’t find anyone in your first six months than you don’t pay for your second six months. But I guess there are all these restrictions, and I didn’t read those restrictions, and then I automatically paid for a second six months and then I was just like screw it, I will just stay on it. Then the same thing happened a third time so that’s why I was on for a year and a half because I was like screw it I already paid for it so I min as well keep doing it. I know that was a long answer I guess.

Tara: What sites do you use or have you used in the past?

Mike: Well I already said that (laughs). Um yea, obviously match.com, I use facebook as a friends thing, I don’t use it for dating. I did use myspace back when it first came out because I noticed a lot of girls were messaging me with corny pick-up lines and all that stuff and I was like Hey! I didn’t know this could be a dating thing. So I did date some girls off of myspace back in the day when it first came out awhile ago. I think it was like senior year of high school or something like that. So I guess myspace when it first came out and match.com are the two that I used for dating.

Tara: What do you think about these sites as in terms for finding dates?

Mike: Uh, myspace not so much anymore, I don’t even bother anymore. I don’t even go on there anymore. Match.com, I liked it at first but the more that I used it the more it seemed like it…uh I heard a really good quote somewhere online. Someone said it was like an online bar. I was like, that kind of does make sense. You get a picture and a paragraph you are searching through all these people and instead of going by looks like you would at a bar you go by looks and a paragraph and stuff like that. That is necessarily a bad thing. Um, but it’s like… I already blanked on that question again, one more time.

Tara: What do you think about finding dates on these sites?

Mike: What do you thinking about finding dates on these sites…um, gosh, I get side tracked really easily. What do I think about finding dates on these sites? Oh yea, I remember what I was talking about. Um, yeah, on match I originally was finding a lot of people but after awhile I wasn’t really finding what I wanted. Well I was, they just weren’t really working out as well. Um, I was just like well maybe I will take a break. Maybe it’s not necessarily something with me but maybe I should just chill for awhile. It’s easy to date people on them, it’s easy, and you have people messaging you. It’s very easy to communicate with people. I don’t know how hard it is for someone who is unattractive. I don’t know. I would like to think I am an attractive person. Um, so it wasn’t really hard for me to find a date. I could generally find what I wanted and I was getting people who were messaging me and all that stuff. But, um, it’s not really that hard….are you talking about just dating someone or finding someone you could be with for along time?

Tara: Both.

Mike: Both, match.com I don’t know. I think it would be really hard to find someone on match.com that you could be with for along time. I really think it depends on your age. My dad for example, he is in his 50’s and by that age you really know what you want. You’ve had a lot of experience you really know what you want; you are established in your life, hopefully financially. You can really weed out a lot of stuff because you have had a lot of experience. But I think at a younger age like early 20’s and even in your teens, I would say it’s really hard to find a marriage partner. Dating, sure great, you can date people no problem. Um, but not finding a marriage partner, because people don’t really know where they are going yet. People don’t know, they are often still in college, they don’t know where they will be at after college. Ideally, you would like to be in the same area some people want to travel. A lot of people on these websites say they want to travel here, I want to travel there, I want to go here, I wan t go there. Well it’s like if I start dating you, and you move somewhere else, how is that going to work out? There are just a lot of factors in it…there really is. I hope that was good enough for you.

Tara: And how would you describe the person you portray yourself to be online?

Mike: The person I portray myself to be? It’s me! It’s very honest. I type in my profile…I was very in depth with my profile. I thought very hard about typing with myself. I wanted to get the general jist of who I was for a person looking through. I mean, I believe in my profile I believe I had two or three really long paragraphs. My opinion is if someone doesn’t want to read through the paragraph then they are not what I’m looking for. But if someone does and they come back and they ask me really in depth about something in the middle of it then they were really paying attention. So, I’m very open and honest about who I am. I am very confident that I know who I am as a person and I’ve been able to find myself and what I want in someone in who I date. I portray that in what I’m looking for, I say exactly what I’m looking for, I say exactly the type of person that I am, I say exactly what I like in life, and what I’m hoping the other person would like as well. And hopefully I was hoping I could find someone like that. I have, but it hasn’t worked out as well. But, I have been very honest, I guess that is how I portray myself very honest and open I suppose. Is that good?

Tara: That’s great. Thank you so much. That concludes our interview for today. So thanks!

Mike: Alright, thank you.

Tara: Thank you.

Transcript:

Chelsea and Rob

Chelsea: Okay, why did you start using…why did you start using social media dating?

Rob: I don’t know, there’s no any one reason specifically I guess.  I don’t know, it was after about semester, I was single and I just kind of put something out there and saw what was going to happen.

Chelsea: Which one did you use?

Rob: I actually tried Craig’s list.  I put up an ad or two and replied to a couple.

Chelsea: What motivated you to engage in the social media dating?

Rob: Isn’t that kind of the same question?

Chelsea: Sort of actually, now that I am looking at why, what motivates: probably like, think along the terms of loneliness or boredom or tired of the social scene…

Rob: I mean, sure.  All the means I was using earlier weren’t really yielding any new results anymore so I figured I would give this a shot, something new and different.

Chelsea: What concerns did you have with social media dating?  Or do you have?

Rob: Obviously I was new to it, I was cautious about it, but there weren’t any huge concerns to me about anything.

Chelsea: What do you mean cautious?

Rob: Obviously, there is certain language they use, or terms that you are not going to be necessarily aware of, but after reading a couple of ads or a couple pages worth you become familiar with what they are looking for or speaking about.

Chelsea: Online, how open are you about sharing your personal info with others?  Because you said you were cautious, so that is going to play into this.  Sharing your personality or who you are, how open are you about sharing that with other people?

Rob: I’ll put up a picture, maybe first name and last initial, secondary email address, something like that.  Usually don’t put up last name or phone number, that sort of stuff.

Chelsea: Do you…do your family and or friends know about your social media dating?

Rob: Not really um that’s, it’s the same way I wouldn’t really talk to them about going to a bar and picking up a girl…that’s the same thing to me really.

Chelsea: What if someone asked?  If someone asked you are you going to say ‘yea I did it’?

Rob: I wouldn’t deny it.  I can’t fabricate a story about how I met somebody.  You know?  I’m not hiding it but I’m not obviously telling everybody about it.

Chelsea: Right, and I would go into why or why not, but you already did that.  Have you had any good experiences that encouraged you to continue?  If so what are they?

Rob: Nothing tremendously positive or negative actually.  Just kind of middle of the road, middling results overall.  Nothing to persuade me.  I would return if the need arises.

Chelsea: So you would return?  So there were no bad experiences that have deterred you?

Rob: Nothing really happened to deter.  Talked to a couple people so, I can’t complain about that.

Chelsea: What are you looking for in your search?

Rob: Obviously physically attractive, would be a positive. More so than that, someone I can actually converse with.  Maybe some similar interests or interesting personality or character traits, stuff like that.

Chelsea: I’m going to assume Female?

Rob: Yes

Chelsea: (Laughing) Did you…have you paid to engage in social media dating?  Why or why not?

Rob: No I haven’t really paid.  I feel there is a fair number of quality resources that are available for free that you can engage in without paying for.

Chelsea: What sites did you use?  Just Craig’s list?

Rob: Pretty much just Craig’s list, and I talked to a couple people through like facebook and what not, I guess that could count.

Chelsea: What do you think about these sites in terms of finding dates?

Rob: It’s pretty much any of the negatives of meeting people out in public; running into somebody and striking up a conversation at a bar or restaurant.   Positives would be that you are in your home at your own time so you don’t have to really be in a certain place or go out a certain night and meet a large pool of people that are interested in dating.

Chelsea: How would you describe the person you portray yourself to be online?  Very honest?  Do you embellish certain things that you like about yourself?  Omit certain things that you don’t, or hide things?

Rob: I try and be honest about it.  Anything that happens is not surreptitious by its nature, I don’t try to hide anything or embellish anything.  But obviously, you’ll subconsciously, I guess, play up good traits while downplaying your bad traits.  But it’s nothing I’d try and downplay.  It’s not like I have a giant goiter that I won’t mention, I’m fairly normal looking.

Chelsea: (Laughing) Okay, Thank you.

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