A Crash Course in Online Dating for the Technically Challenged

According to the latest headlines, boomers are hitting dating sites in record numbers looking for love. I didn't need a newspaper article to figure this out because my 62 year old father is living proof of the trend.

While my Dad is quite adept at checking his stocks or uncovering research about his latest ailment, he seems to have a mental block when it comes to online dating. He can't quite ever remember how to locate his favorite matchmaking site, add changes to his personal profile or make adjustments to his preference settings. And when instant messages from saucy fifty plus women pop up on his screen, Dad is convinced he is being set up in some kind of law enforcement scheme.

This is where my Internet skills and years of being single come into the picture. You see I have become a personal help desk to support to my Dad and all his cronies in their quest for love online.

When the volume of calls became too overwhelming, I put together this manual to help individuals avoid and troubleshoot some of the technical challenges they face when they venture into online dating sites. So it is without further ado, and here's to hoping there tips help you and the sons and daughters of single boomers everywhere!

  1. Save Your Favorites: If you have a hard time remembering the name of a site or cannot figure out how to type a url into the address bar of your search browser, simply bookmark the page so it's not forgotten. To do this just right click on your mouse each time you are visiting a website you want to return to and follow the prompt that lets you store it into your "favorites" folder. Accessing your favorite matchmaking site then becomes easy – all you have to do it find and click on it in your "favorites" folder.

  2. Save Your Work: Filling out that personal profile sure takes a lot of time and effort, plus there is always the chance that your information will get misplaced. To avoid re-work and mitigate all other risks, try saving your personal essays in a separate word document onto your computer. Now instead of re-typing your information into every essay form, you can just copy and paste it!

  3. Pictures: A picture paints a thousand words, so it's important that yours be included in your profile. If uploading images is a hassle that is too hard too handle, don't fret. Just have a photo savvy friend or relative take the shots and have them sent to you via email. Next, download those images into a single easy to find location on your computer, making sure to give them friendly titles, so that they are easily identified and retrievable.

  4. Understand the Different Functions: While every dating site is different, most share some basic features. Here is a description of some of the functions you will come across and how you can best use them:

    • Chat rooms: A virtual meeting room where multiple users come together and communicate by sending up to the instant text messages. It's like going to a social gathering and a great way to connect with groups of people in real time.

    • Message boards: Similar to chat rooms, the only difference is that the information is not in real time. Message boards offer a great way to post and answer questions, and find general and specific information about people within the community.

    • Email: Same as the system you use at home or in the office, your online dating account provides you with the ability to write directly, privately and securely with other individuals within the community.

    • Instant Messages: Allows real time communication through text messages in a one-on-one environment. A perfect opportunity for quick exchanges when you are getting to know someone new or want to communicate with them directly without any time delays.

    • Flirts: An alert message that is sent to a person which notifies them that someone is interested. Flirts are ideal if you want to reach out to someone but are at a loss for words!

By B. Katz of SingleEdition.com for OurTime.com


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