Tag Archives: interwebz

Online Dating Throwdown: Match vs. OKCupid

When I started dating again there was only one option. It was the internet or nothing. I have social circles, but they’re largely married and their social circles are largely married, and as I’m way too old and uncool for the bar scene, that was it. 

I did online dating a decade or so ago and not too much has changed between now and then. Though one major thing is that it’s no longer horrible and shameful to be dating online. It’s now seen as reasonable and generally preferred to any other option. I recently read someone argue that online dating was bad because you immediately ruled people out. This made me wonder if they’d ever realized how many snap judgments we make about people we see in person. 

I’ve learned that while I can’t tell a lot about someone based on their profile, I can get a good idea of our compatibility. Someone who keeps their answers minimal, says virtually nothing about themselves, goes on and on about how they’re looking for a “drama-free” woman, insists their partner be adventurous and well-traveled, insists their partner be fit and athletic, insists their partner be anything really–these are people who aren’t going to click with me. 

I like thoughtful people, with extra bonus points for wit and smarts. None of that has to be book smarts, in fact I find snootiness unappealing, but it goes a long way towards the kind of conversations we’ll have. And for me that’s a big deal. 

Recently I expanded my search to include both OKCupid and Match, the two most popular places to go. And for those of you who may be curious, I thought I’d share my findings in a head-to-head comparison.

Size of Pool: Match wins this by a long shot. It didn’t take long for me to feel like OKC kept showing me the same people. 

Quality of Pool: About even, probably. There’s a lot more to say, but you’ll get it in some of these other answers.

Searchability: OKC wins. Match lets you put in plenty of specs, but I don’t look for specs in a person. I can find an exception to almost every rule. I’ve dated amazing guys without college degrees, low incomes, and unusual professions. I tend to do very little excluding, so searching is not too helpful for someone like me. If you’re particular about height, weight, race, income, etc. it can be more helpful. (However, be prepared for lots of lying. The number of guys who’ve said they were 5’9″ and then showed up and were exactly as tall as me–I’m not quite 5’6″–has been many. I’ve even seen guys on Match list every race, I don’t know if they don’t follow directions well or didn’t want to be left out of someone’s search based on race.) OKC lets you search on compatibility, and I know it’s hard to trust at first, but after a little while you start to realize that it does pretty well.

Engagement: Match gives you so many ways to engage… and yet I’ve found people there quieter and less responsive. You can Favorite, Message, Like or Wink or any combination of those. All of them will notify the other person you did so. And while men complain that women are unresponsive, I have a pretty long list of “Favorites” that I keep so I can remind myself to send them a message, but hardly any of them have responded to me favorite-ing them. OKC, however, is much better. Almost too much. I get more unsolicited messages, though many of them are from people I find interesting. Chat is commonly used, although you do have to watch out for people trying to talk to you all the time. But overall I prefer OKC.

Usefulness of Profile: Another OKC win. Its profile prompts are more interesting, even if they’re also more obnoxious. They give you better answers that tell you more about a person. And it’s Question section, even if many of them are ridiculous, also gives you a lot of information about a person, especially when it comes to some political or ethical issues that may be dealbreakers for you. Match is so blah that it leads to lots of dull profiles with little information. I don’t really care what someone’s “Favorite Hot Spots” are.

Nerd Quotient: I can’t tell if there are really more nerds on OKC or if it’s just that Match shows me a broader group of people. I can tell you that if you’re looking for a guy with a beard who rides his bike to work and lives in Somerville, you will find a million of them on OKC.

Ease of Use: Another win for OKC. Match’s menu bar has so much stupid stuff in it that I cannot keep it straight.

Exposure to People: Match takes this one. Sure, I find OKC’s search by compatibility relatively decent, but Match emails me a list of 24 people a day and I usually click through all of their profiles. I may only see 1 or 2 that look interesting, but it’s definitely involving me regularly more than OKC does. The thing I like best about OKC, though, is it sends you a little message to tell you if someone you may be compatible with is looking at your profile.

Blocking Ability: Haven’t had to use it yet on Match, but I did have a guy on OKC who kept making a new account after I blocked him, which I would then block, and then the cycle would continue. The block works and I did flag or report him each time this happened. I know it’s kind of impossible for any online dating site to ban a person since they can always make a new profile under a different email address, but the blocking ability makes me feel safer. Match does let you block and hide as well, convenient for when you see someone you know IRL and you don’t want to keep running into them.

Cost: I’ve found the free OKC is just fine. Free Match is not. If you don’t pay for Match it’s basically useless. However, Match does give you a guarantee that if you haven’t found someone in 6 months you can get the next 6 months free. I’ll let you know if they stick to that…

Responsiveness: Obviously this is subjective since I only pick out certain people to contact, but I do believe that if I find someone who looks interesting I shouldn’t wait by the phone. So how has it gone when I’ve reached out? My response rate on Match is abysmal. My rate so far on OKC is pretty decent, about 50%. I am hoping my average on Match improves, I’ve officially stopped contacting anyone who says they aren’t interested in people with kids (people who say they’re not often contact me anyway so I was pretty loose at first) and hopefully it’ll get better, but overall people on OKC tend to be much more into the idea of actually meeting and talking.

Creepy Factor: OKC is higher, for sure. I’ve received more than my fair share of emails inviting me to be “the lover of an older man” or the third to a married couple. OKC in general has a higher quotient of nontraditional relationships, including a good number of poly folks in a big city like mine. So if you’re really opposed to that type of thing or find it horrifying, OKC is probably not a good fit for you. I find those emails aren’t coming often enough to bother me. Match, on the other hand, is high on the boring quotient. Be ready for plenty of profiles that try and show off their personalities by such gems as “I’m just as happy going out as I am staying in.” I actually have a more traditional profile picture on Match where the people are more traditional and a quirkier one on OKC.

So overall I prefer OKC, but right now I’m not content to stay there. I may feel differently a few more months into Match, but I mostly joined Match to add to my pool and it’s certainly done that.

It Takes an Internet

For me, the phrase “it takes a village” has a very different meaning. Because I live a lot of my life online, my village is the internet. And I love my village.

There are a lot of people who would say it’s crazy to share so much of your deepest self online using your real name. Probably the vast majority of people. But this is who I am, an oversharer by nature and occasionally by trade. I find shouting into the void awfully unfulfilling, so I shout into the internet instead. Happily, the internet likes to shout back. 

Last summer I suffered through some really tough stuff and I decided to keep it quiet. It was terrible.

This summer I suffered through some even tougher stuff and I was done with quiet. I spoke my mind. And it’s been a million times easier.

I’ve also had the kind of support that I never could have expected.

You, my friends, have visited my site and read my posts. You’ve left comments and sent emails. 

You’ve talked to me and let me vent.

You’ve babysat my kids.

You’ve passed down clothes.

You’ve sent gifts.

You’ve gone so above and beyond.

I want to send you all hand-written thank-you notes. But given the way I’m managing my life lately this probably isn’t going to happen. Or at least, not soon. So for now, all of you, just accept my very very thankful-est thanks. 

You’ll have to bear with me for a while because I’m not sure how this whole working-while-single-parenting thing is going to go. I’m pretty new to them separately and putting them together is an awfully big hurdle. Plus I tend to be the kind of person who lets myself ease into such things. I give myself a lot of leeway. I let myself go really slow. I basically lead as basic a life as possible until I get my bearings.

Some day I’ll be up at night writing for you in the morning. But for now I’m mostly going to bed before 9 because I’m just done for the day and that’s that and it’s okay.

For now I know you and I know how wonderful you all are and I know that this is enough for you because you are so wonderful.

Replace Google Reader With Feedly

feedly Replace Google Reader With FeedlyOh there has been much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth on our beloved interwebz about the demise of Google Reader. But you know what? It’s a good thing. Because Google Reader got the job done but it didn’t exactly go above and beyond. It didn’t try to get any extra credit, it just wanted a passing grade. Now there are some new apps on the scene but after doing some investigating I’ve decided to throw in my lot with Feedly. And so far I’m feeling really good about that decision.

What I Love About Feedly

First, it’s a lot like Google Reader. It’s clean and simple and doesn’t try to give you fancy pictures… unless you want it to. You can keep your nice clean layout but you can also do a lot more with a lot less. So you can do what you already love, just better. (You can even change your theme to change up the colors.) Plus you can just connect it to your Google Reader and it’ll import all the sites you’re already subscribed to. Awesome.

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Second, you can organize what you read by category. So, for example, I’ve now divided up my Food sites from my blogs. And I’ve got a category set up just for my local blogger friends because I need to do better at keeping up with everyone’s goings-on.

Third, it’s easy to add sites to your feed.

Option 1: Search by name or URL. On the left dashboard you just hit the “+ Add Content” link to bring up a little search tab.  So I decided to add my friend Charlene’s blog to my Boston group. I didn’t even have to put in her URL, just typed in the name of her site.

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Ta da! There she is, I click the little + icon and then I get to decide how to categorize her. You can just leave everyone uncategorized, but dividing them up helps if you have lots of sites to keep up with. You can also mark sites as a “must read.”

Option Two: Use the Feedly add-on in Chrome. I have to say I’m a big fan of Chrome and one reason is all the add-ons and apps you can use. Feedly is yet another. Add it and you’ll see it whenever you open a new tab, plus you get this handy dandy little floating icon in the lower right corner of your screen. Like so:

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And when you hover your mouse over him you get this lovely little menu:

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From here you can click the green + to open Feedly in a new tab and get to click the add button. Or you can bookmark it, email it, tweet it, facebook it, +1 it, Buffer it, etc. Awesome, no?

Beyond all this, it has very user-friendly buttons and settings. You can very easily keep something unread, open it in a new tab, hide it from your screen, etc. And they only show up when you need them so your screen stays clutter-free.

Now what’s useful for you bloggers:

Help Your Readers Subscribe To You on Feedly

As is often the case with newer things this one isn’t quite ready in the add-a-quick-button-to-your-sidebar thing. BUT it’s not hard. You can actually email Feedly for a bunch of different images you can use. Or you can download these I’m about to put up for you. (It’s all good, I got them from Feedly for buttons.)

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Get yourself that little image. Upload it to your site. Then the tricky part is to add the html. All you need is a nice text widget. And the link should work like so:

It starts with this: http://www.feedly.com/home#subscription/feed/

Then add on to the end the address of your feed. So mine, for example, ends up looking like this: http://www.feedly.com/home#subscription/feed/http://theseversons.net/feed/

Then when someone clicks the subscribe button on your blog they’ll immediately get a new tab in Feedly with your feed in it. SWEET! (You can see mine in the sidebar right below my social media icons. Click it and see!)

Also awesome: if you’d like something different, just email arthur@feedly.com for a custom button. 

I have to say, so far I am loving the Feedly life. There’s also an app for your phone so you can check your reader from there. I love the simple style with tons of customization. You can even change your settings to see a magazine-style look with one image for each, or change to a card-style or see full entries for everything. 

I hope you give it a try. Any other Feedly lovers out there?

What I Did Last Weekend

1. Survived Lockdown

Yes, we are actually IN Boston. Like Boston Boston. Not 30 minutes northeast of Boston. In the city limits. So yes, we were on lockdown. Also technically it wasn’t really lockdown, it wasn’t martial law being declared, it was a shelter-in-place request from the governor and the mayor. 

Oh, and it was the 7th day of spring break and I wasn’t allowed to take the kids outside. How did we survive? Snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. I *might* have given Tessa 4 packs of fruit snacks (all-natural very small packs of fruit snacks!) because Twitter told me it was okay. Also: Graham watched the entire series Justin Time on Netflix. 

No, we did not have any SWAT teams at our house because the action was all on the other end of town. 

In all seriousness, we were safe and relatively clam the whole day even if I was wound tighter than… something wound very tightly. It was one of those times when it’s a blessing that your kids are young and not really picking up on what’s happening around them. 

2. Made my International Media Debut

Through Twitter I was approached by the BBC to talk about being on lockdown. I was happy to chat with them though I made it clear that I was not too close to the action and that I had two small children in the house who were constantly demanding snacks. They were, oddly, okay with this. (They told me they like interviewing people “on the ground.” So there you have it, the BBC says having small children in your house is like living in a warzone.)

The show was World Have Your Say and we conducted all of it on my cell phone. No, I don’t have a clip. And honestly, I don’t think I was particularly interesting or awesome. It was notable that my interview was concluded because Graham started requesting hot dogs for dinner at the top of his lungs. 

If you are wondering if being interviewed by the BBC means I am now internationally famous, the answer is yes. I totally am.

3. Escaped Lockdown

So the hitch was that I was supposed to leave for Philadelphia midday on Friday with Charlene. And Kathy was supposed to come watch the kiddos. It became pretty apparent that neither of those things would be happening since Kathy had been up all night and had SWAT teams going through her house and her neighborhood. 

I spent the day trying to figure out what we would do and how the kids would be taken care of. We received many kind offers. But ultimately things worked out well when they told people to go home from work and Eric returned home. There was still some concern about leaving, but since people were going home from work and it was still light out I thought it was best to just go. So we did.

We’ve been fortunate this week to be test driving a RAV4 from Toyota and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I hopped in, picked up Charlene and we made a break for it.

 What I Did Last Weekend

Pit stop in Connecticut

The drive was oddly peaceful. It was the least amount of traffic I’ve ever seen on the drive down the Eastern Seaboard. We didn’t listen to the radio or obsessively check the news. We just drove and chatted and enjoyed the calm.

Finally we heard the siege was over not long before we reached our destination and we all breathed a sigh of relief for our families, our friends and our city.

4. Acted Like I Knew What I Was Doing In Front of a Crowd of Awesome People

We were so anxious to get to Philly because we were speaking at Type A Advanced about setting up a business. This was my first time as a speaker at a conference. It said “Speaker” on my nametag, which meant that when people saw me they assumed I was important and ran in influential circles and that was why they’d never heard of me before. It also meant that people let me go ahead of them in the coffee line. (Well, not everyone. Just Kelly.) 

It was a huge honor to be there and all the intensity of the previous week meant that I wasn’t nervous about our session. Still, to be safe, I wore my lucky kraken. (And the same outfit I wore to Blissdom, hoping no one would notice.)

 What I Did Last Weekend

If you ever find yourself speaking at a conference, I recommend the first session. Everyone is awake and you can kick your feet up for the rest of the day. (Actually I took crazy amounts of notes, but it was much more relaxing.)

I think it went pretty well and I really really hope that Charlene and I get to go back to Type A Parent Conference in Atlanta. (If you want to come, too, you totally should! I’m an affiliate with them and you can sign up for Type A in September here.)

5. Had a Basically Perfect Kid-Free Evening

After the sessions ended I headed out with some buddies to Talula’s Garden for dinner. It was, simply, magical. We were seated out on the patio and while it was chilly there were heat lamps that made it super cozy. The little garden-in-the-city setting was delightful. They served fantastic food and fantastic wine and this bunch of moms enjoyed themselves like only moms away from their kids without a care in the world can.

We shamelessly instagrammed our food (except for me, as soon as they put it down I just started eating, no time for pictures). We relaxed. We talked. We gushed over the deliciousness of our meal. I ordered a second glass of wine. 

You have to enjoy these moments when they come because they don’t come often.

6. Talked Books Like Only a True Obsessive Can

Bloggers may love to read but a lot of them don’t really “get” book reviewing that some of us do. We’re a small group and we live in a very different place website-wise. When you tell a blogger that you get books to review they wonder what’s in it for you. It’s just a book. You’re not getting paid. Advance copies have no value so you don’t get any income. It’s a foreign idea to many of them. But those of us who live that life get it. The books are the reward, the pay, the everything.

I was super lucky to run into some other book people at the Type A evening reception and it made my already-perfect night even better. After getting to talk to people like Rachée and Thien-Kim was awesome. People talk about going to blog conferences and being able to talk to people that get you, but this was like my little tiny niche that get me even more. 

I hope none of those ladies thought I was too crazy because I can give off a whiff of insanity when I talk books.

7. Talked Baby Gear in NYC

On our trip home on Sunday we made a stop in Manhattan for the Babypalooza put on by The Big Toy Book. We bloggers get a lot of event invites and it seems like whenever there are toys involved those of us with little kids have nothing to look at since everything’s geared at the 7-9 year old set. It was great to see actual baby and young child brands there and see some sweet products. There will be more to come this week, so I won’t go on at length. 

A highlight: meeting NYCJenny, a fellow Twitter-er and #zombiemom.

8. Returned home to a Clean House

If you’d seen the state of our house before I left you’d realize just how massive an undertaking this was. While I was home all day on Friday I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I knew I could’ve cleaned house but it didn’t calm me, it just made me more anxious. Things have been worse than usual since I left for Blissdom and I’ve been in a funk since then so I haven’t taken any major steps.

So some super big props to E for doing the impossible and showing me up as clearly the superior adult in our house. I am hoping it takes me at least a month before it all goes to hell again.

The Stress-Free Guide to Blog Conferences

I spent last weekend at Blissdom. For those of you who aren’t super nerdy bloggers like me, that’s a blog conference. Yes, we have conferences. And believe it or not, it’s not just a bunch of people sitting in pajamas with their laptops.

The more I talk to people about conferences, the more I hear about how they get nervous or stressed out about them. Or afterwards they’re exhausted and overwhelmed because they never took a break. But I think I’ve mastered the low-key approach to rocking a conference and staying sane and having tons of fun all at the same time.

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The Social

  • Connect in advance. Join the conference Facebook group and check it regularly. Follow the Twitter lists. Talk to people. It makes a huge difference.
  • Get a roommate. This should be obvious, but if you don’t know anyone going you may not know how to go about it. (This is why you joined that Facebook group. I-need-a-roomie threads are a dime a dozen.)
  • Get more roommates. Even if you want to room with someone you know, get more roommates that you don’t know or haven’t met in person. They’ll be tapped in to social circles you may not be. They’ll introduce you to people you don’t know. You’ll always have people to eat lunch with. And they’ll bring more people with them.
  • When you go to a meal or a session with open seating, sit down at a table where you don’t know anyone and introduce yourself. It’s even better if it’s a table of kind of random people who didn’t all sit together. If you’re an introvert this may feel painfully awkward, but you’ll be glad you did it when you’re walking down the hall the next day and you see someone you recognize that you can say hi to.
  • Hang out with people who may not be in your niche. We tend to be too insular in the blogging world. But you’ll find that other niches have insights you don’t, especially when you start talking plug-ins or social media or monetization.
  • Connect people. If a friend comes up while you’re chatting with another friend, introduce them to each other. Plus this will make everyone think you know everyone even when you don’t.

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The Anti-Social

  • Take time alone. It’s not as hard as you think. Don’t be afraid to say goodbye to people and head back to your room. Take a nap, watch TV, read a book, write a blog post, take a bath. Whatever you want to do, do it. I did this a few times a day at Blissdom and it helped me feel refreshed and centered. (Plus it means you can drop whatever random swag you’ve picked up so your arms get a rest.)
  • It’s okay to sit alone, to wander the expo by yourself, to have a meal without a crowd if that’s what you feel like. Let your introvert self out to breathe. (The pics on this post are from my solo photo walk of the Gaylord Texan while everyone else was doing other stuff.)
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Free headshots–a definite must. I made sure to get them on my “cute” day. (Also, you guys, I’m crazy boobtastic in this pic.)

 

The Style

  • Blog conferences are somewhat notorious for ladies all decked out in their cutest outfits. It can be intimidating for those of us who spend the day in yoga pants and still have the remnants of a baby belly. Make sure you’re comfortable (IMO, heels are a no-no) and don’t be afraid to dress down.
  • Have one dress up day. Wear a dress, do your hair, put on your makeup, go all out. And then you can feel like you’ve done your part the next day when you get back to your tee and yoga pants and messy hair. I did it this time and it was great.
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The Sponsors

  • I’m not going to stop you from going to every booth, talking to every sponsor, entering every contest and picking up every piece of swag. But it’s not my preferred method. (Plus your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram followers might get annoyed.) It also means your bags get very heavy if you have to fly home.
  • When things are crowded it’s a good time to make your rounds. See what’s going on at different booths, see what kind of goodies are being offered, etc. Take note of where you want to go when things get a little more quiet.
  • For the brands you really want to meet and potentially establish a relationship with, go by when things are quiet. You’ll want a chance to have a conversation, especially if you want to know what kind of work they’re interested in doing with bloggers.
  • Take advantage of the fun perks. Know who has coffee, candy, alcohol, etc. When you want a pick-me-up, it’s always good to know where to go. (At Blissdom I was the first person who knew that there was a coffee/espresso machine in the One2One suite.)
  • Don’t feel like you have to hit every perk. Sure, I got my nails done and my hair done, but I skipped out on the ice cream sundae bar. It’s okay, you’ll live. Plus those things can get crowded. It’s okay to say, “No thanks,” when someone offers you another goodie bag.
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The Sincerity 

  • Be yourself. Don’t feel like you have to apologize if you’re the kind of person who’s going to go to bed early or wake up super early for the fitness session.
  • Let yourself go. Even if you hate parties and crowds and music and concerts… go anyway. At least do one thing that’s outside your comfort zone. Pretend you’re still 25 for a night. (You can still go to bed at 11:30. I won’t tell.)
  • Burn the evidence. Or post it on the internet. And make sure you keep some blackmail on your buddies.
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The Social Media

  • Sponsors and sessions will give you hashtags to tweet and contests to enter. But try not to overdo it. It gets a little old for your followers, especially if they follow other bloggers at the same conference.
  • Use your Instagram wisely. I can’t tell you how many pics in a row I saw of posed Me-standing-next-to-so-and-so pics. There’s nothing wrong with them, but you can post them later on and you don’t want to IG a bunch of them in a row. Snoozefest.
  • Post updates that are interesting or useful for your followers instead of live-tweeting whatever session you happen to be watching. For example, I was thrilled to see a group of my followers pick up the #childhunger hashtag from End Child Hunger, our philanthropic sponsor. For a period every tweet with the hashtag donated 5 meals and I loved seeing them take the ball and run with it.
  • It’s totally okay to ignore social media completely. You’ve got a lot on your plate. Do what comes naturally.

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The Sessions

  • It’s okay to skip a session or a keynote. It’s a great time for a nap or a quiet walk around the sponsor booths or some chatter with your new friends.
  • It’s okay to leave a session. Some say this isn’t polite, but you’re the one paying to be there. Sometimes session descriptions aren’t accurate. Or a presenter is boring. There’s no reason to spend your valuable time listening to a presentation that won’t help or inspire you. It’s okay to go into another session late. You’re there to learn, don’t sweat it.

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The Takeaway

  • You never know when inspiration is going to strike. I didn’t go to very many sessions at Blissdom or BlogHer but both times I left with my mind full of ideas to try and pitches to send. I’ve got some great stuff to work on and I’m really pumped to do it.
  • Come with clear goals. They may have nothing to do with the direction you’re going when everything’s said and done, but when you’re not sure what you want to do for the next 3 hours it’ll give you some priorities.
  • Write an awesome recap post.
  • Go home and sleep for a few days.

Hey, Blissdom!

When I went to BlogHer last year I put together an introductory post and it seemed to work pretty well. This week I’m going to my big blog conference of the year, Blissdom, in Dallas and I’m really excited. So here’s my intro to all the ladies I’m about to meet…

A little about me before I get to know all of you…

(The post is embedded from Storify. If you’re having trouble seeing it, you can go here.)