Are We Getting Tired Of Social Media?

Social Networks
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Wake up. Scan your Facebook news feed. Check your notifications on Twitter. Post to your Tumblr. Favorite a friend's photo on Instagram. Share an interesting article on Google+. Add a pin to your newest Pinterest board. Update your qualifications on LinkedIn. Then check your email, blog, and online dating profile.

And that's before you've even had breakfast.

We're living in a social media-saturated world, and there's plenty of evidence to suggest that our obsession with digital connectivity has changed the way we relate to each other. Now, what started as a fun and ground-breaking way to meet new friends and keep in touch with old ones may be turning into a time-consuming chore.

According to a recent survey conducted by E-Score, consumer attitude towards social media could be shifting. While awareness and usage of social media sites continues to remain high, the allure of using them is starting to fade.

The survey identified the social media sites with the most consumer awareness, as well as the appeal of those sites. Facebook scored the highest for both awareness and appeal, with 140 million unique monthly visitors in the US. Twitter came in second, followed by Google+. Dating sites eHarmony and Match.com rounded out the top 5.

Though two online dating sites were among the top five most recognizable social media brands, they were also among the lowest when ranked by appeal. Online dating has overcome many hurdles since its inception, but it seems it still has a few to clear.

Both Facebook and Twitter also earned surprising scores. They are two of the most recognizable and popular social media platforms, but they scored unexpectedly low in the appeal ratings. The survey's findings suggest that these social media sites are either habit-forming (and I think few of us who use them would disagree with that) or viewed as a necessity rather than a pastime.

"During the past five years, the role of social media has shifted from a leisure activity to an integral and, at times, mandatory, part of our lives," said Gerry Philpott, president of E-Poll Market Research. Social media fatigue could be setting in as using social media sites becomes more about obligation and less about fun.

I don't think the fall of social media is happening any time soon, but it's an intriguing prospect. Will something we once thought was a positive addition to our lives become something we can't stand?

What do you think: are we experiencing social media burnout?

'True Blood' Star Finds Love On Match.com

Match.com
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On the hit show True Blood, Deborah Ann Woll has sexy vampire mind-control powers to seduce men. In real life, her love story is a little more tame.

Ok, a lot more tame.

In 2007, Woll joined Match.com. Then 23 and fresh out of the University of Southern California's theater school, she wanted to meet someone genuine and grounded that she could build a life with.

"I'm shy, and I'd always had a hard time meeting boys," she told Glamour. "I had a serious boyfriend in high school, but Hollywood, where it's all about being 'cool,' terrifies me! When I opened my Match account, I'd done a few guest spots but wasn't on True Blood yet, and I wanted to find someone grounded."

She found that someone in the form of 32-year-old comic E.J. Scott. Part of what drew her to Scott was the honesty in his Match profile: he mentioned that he had been diagnosed with choroideremia, a rare disease that causes progressive loss of vision and aversion to bright lights.

Scott says he was attracted to her right away. "I kept clicking through her photos, and there was one that had this great big smile," he said to Glamour. "I'm a big smile guy. Her profile said she liked Mystery Science Theater 3000. She was so pretty yet so nerdy! I just had a feeling about her."

Woll says she connected with Scott right away because she felt like she could be herself with him, and he too was taken with her from day one. Now the couple is living proof that relationships that begin on Match.com, or any other dating site, can go the distance. Woll and Scott have stayed strong through a break-up, several years of a long-distance relationship, and the daily challenge of his declining vision.

Now the True Blood star is eager to start a family with her long-term boyfriend. "I didn't grow up imagining my wedding day," Woll says, "so we may not get married, but we're committed for life, and we want kids. I could wait, but his biological clock is ticking!" They estimate that Scott has 10 years left before he loses his vision completely, and they would like to have kids before he is more seriously impaired so he can see them grow up.

Despite the unusual obstacles they've faced, Woll and Scott have been together for six years and they're stronger than ever.

Best of luck to them both!

The Future Of Dating Apps: Facebook Mobile Ads

Are You Interested (AYI)
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Facebook's ad strategy is a subject of major concern for investors. Advertisements are the site's principal driver of revenue and now that it's a public company, Facebook must satisfy investors as well as its own internal team.

The outlook has been grimmer than anticipated for all but one group of advertisers: dating apps.

In June 2013, the top 20 grossing iPhone apps in the social networking sphere included at least 13 dating apps. Facebook-integrated apps like Tinder, a new app that's taking the market by storm, are becoming increasingly popular among social networking-savvy singles. But as Tinder grows, some older apps, like Are You Interested, a freemium app that's been downloaded 70 million times in its 6-year history, are suffering.

AYI monthly users have dropped from 7.3 million in November 2011 to 3 million today. Only 80,000 people have signed up for AYI subscriptions so far, reports Forbes, and revenue was static for 2012. AYI needs a new strategy if it's going to leverage the 20 million Facebook users who have already synced their profiles to the app and stay on top of the competition. To reinvigorate the brand, AYI turned to Facebook's mobile app install ads.

AYI began a heavy marketing campaign on Facebook's mobile offering, and within a month saw 200% more downloads than the previous month. Because Facebook's mobile advertising is relatively inexpensive, AYI was able to conduct tests to find their most engaged audiences:

  • Canadian males & Brazilians of both genders aged 26-36
  • Finns over the age of 36
  • Americans over 30

And it's not just Facebook's impressive opportunities for market research that make it an ideal choice for marketers. Ads like those used by AYI no longer take users out of the Facebook app and into the app store to download, Users can install new apps directly from their newsfeed, which makes for an easier, more streamlined experience.

Some companies have a greater potential for Facebook ad success than others. Cliff Lerner, co-founder and CEO of Are You Interested, recommends Facebook mobile ads for companies that operate in multiple countries. Those companies, he believes, have the most to gain from the demographic testing that can be done on Facebook. He also advises targeting friends of people who have already installed the app and showing that connection to users who are more likely to download an app their friends are already using.

"Users don't behave differently on mobile but there's less competition for traffic right now and it's cheaper to acquire a user," Lerner says. Facebook's mobile offering may now be the hottest place for companies that rely on downloads to do business.

5 Ways to Tell if She’s Interested

Advice
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Hosting speed dating events taught me many things. Most importantly, it taught me that men were brave - they put their fears and insecurities aside to show up and give themselves a chance to find love.

Unfortunately, many of the men I met were also misguided. They were so wrapped up in giving off a good impression and "winning" over the single women at each event that they failed to really pay attention to each individual. Instead, they were reciting a list of accomplishments or talking about their careers. The more I observed, the more I wanted to intervene. Women's eyes would glaze over. They would look at their watches, at the bar, anywhere else. They weren't interested at all.

Sure, maybe these women weren't attracted to some of these men at the speed dating events. But more importantly, the men weren't really paying attention. They didn't know when a woman lost interest.

If you meet a woman you find attractive and wonder if she's attracted to you too, the following tips can help you decide:

She returns your calls and texts. This might seem obvious, but it's not. We often make excuses as to why people aren't keeping in touch. But really, if she's interested she will reach out, even if it's a quick minute to check in and say hello.

She doesn't make excuses, she makes time. Have you ever tried to date a woman who kept canceling or rescheduling plans, because she got too busy with work, friends, or family obligations? Stop asking her out. If she isn't making time to see you, she isn't all that interested.

She doesn't pull away. I'm not recommending any man be sexually aggressive or assertive here. But touch is a good indicator of mutual attraction. If you touch her arm lightly or grab her hand and she doesn't pull away, or she grabs your hand, then you know she's interested.

She leans forward and makes eye contact. Many women speak volumes with body language. If she has her arms folded across her chest or sits back in her chair, she is disengaging from you. However, if she leans forward in her chair, makes a lot of eye contact, and really listens and responds to what you're saying, then she's interested.

She flirts. This might sound simple, too, but there's a difference between polite laughter and conversation and flirtatious banter. It's important to know the difference. Many women are non-confrontational, and they will be polite and cheerful until the end of a date, even if they don't see you as a good match. Please don't mistake kindness for interest. If a woman is really into you, she will flirt, engage, and ask what you're up to on the weekend, and make a point of wanting to see you again. So flirt in return if the feeling is mutual!

4 Ways to Tell If He’s interested

Advice
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Trying to understand the opposite sex when it comes to dating can be frustrating. I don't know how many times I analyzed how someone else felt about me or what they wanted. (A good time? A relationship? A friends with benefits situation?) For example, if a man went out of his way to come see a band with me, or if he was flirting with me all night, telling me how wonderful I was, I thought...he must like me as much as I like him. But then why wasn't he calling me?

I assumed I knew how these men felt based on a few really awesome dates we'd had - I was certain if we connected so much when we were physically around each other, he must be thinking about me when I wasn't there, too.

Was I wrong.

Men are pretty predictable when they are falling for a woman. He might be attracted to you, but that doesn't mean he wants to move forward into relationship territory. It's important to pick up on a few basic cues to see if the feeling is mutual:

He calls you consistently. Wondering why he's suddenly MIA after being all hot and heavy with you on your last date? I've been there - we think of all kinds of excuses as to why he doesn't call. Maybe he's too busy with work or maybe he's just not "a phone person." But we're not doing ourselves any favors by excusing him. The point is, if he really wants to call you, even if he's in a hospital somewhere, he will call.

He's not mysterious. While Hollywood movies like to tell us differently, men who are interested in a long term relationship don't disappear or keep part of their lives hidden. There's nothing sexy about someone who hides. A man who's interested will want you to know where he is. He wants to introduce you to friends and family. He makes plans with you. If he's not being straightforward about how he spends his time, likely you're not the only one in the picture.

He's not consumed by career ambitions. It took me a long time to figure this one out, because I assumed most of the men I dated put their careers first, relationships second. I was used to being called inconsistently or infrequently, chalking it up to "when the timing is right, he'll come around." But this isn't true. No matter where he is in his career, if you're right for each other, he will make time for your relationship.

His eyes are on you. Ever been on a date with a man you're crazy about, and he seems really distracted? If a man is really interested, he makes sure to pay attention to you. He doesn't get distracted by who else is there, including other women.

Online Dating: Better With a Buddy?

Advice
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Dating is an incredibly personal subject. After all, you’re a unique individual, and ultimately you’re the one who chooses to make a commitment with someone. Including someone else in the mix is another, unnecessary set of opinions and preconceptions. Thus, it may surprise you to find that including a trusted friend or family member in the early stages of the online dating process might not be such a bad thing.

A note: the key here is to find someone who is truly trusted, and preferably, someone who only builds you up and doesn’t harm your self-esteem. Writing an online dating profile is a vulnerable process; it’s hard to be honest with yourself if you’re too self-conscious or someone is actively bringing you down. However, if you do have such a trusted friend, they can be a boon to your online profile.

First, they can function as simply a second pair of eyes, a second level of proofreading defense. Just because your spellcheck doesn’t flag a word doesn’t mean you didn’t type the wrong word altogether - but an objective observer might spot such a typo before you do. You can bounce ideas off a friend, and they’ll give you feedback; together, you might figure out a more interesting or creative way to say what you want. In this case, two heads just might be better than one.

Choosing a friend who loves and adores you means they likely see the good in you - possibly positive attributes that you don’t see in yourself. If you’re having trouble seeing the glass as half full, they can be a valuable source of ideas and simple self-esteem boosts. When it comes to choosing a photo, they can help you choose one that really shows the “real you”; when you choose a photo yourself, it can be too easy to get hung up on the fact that your hair isn’t right or your smile is a little goofy.

They might also more easily spot red flags. When we start to think negatively about ourselves, chances are we don’t even notice it; as long as we’re not actively complaining, we think we’re fine. But little turns of phrase can be incredibly revealing to an outsider. A good friend can help you scan for these, and maybe even serve as a sounding board to address these issues.

Finally, a friend who’s clued in on your online dating progress is great to have when you start going on dates. You can give them the information about your first meeting and your potential match, and feel comfortable that they won’t give you a hard time. If you’re particularly nervous about safety issues, you can even have them “lurk” in the same public space where you’re meeting your date.

That doesn’t mean your friend will be a part of any relationship you enter, or even that they’ll have information and opinions about potential matches. Again, once a relationship forms, it’s between you and your partner. But forming an online dating profile can be daunting; if you have a supportive friend, there’s nothing wrong with having a writing buddy.