“God, Grindr must be acting up again. I haven’t gotten a single message since we walked in!”
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, Grindr is a location-based app that allows users to chat with other nearby users. It’s listed as a social networking app, but it’s kind of hard to convince your boyfriend that your shirtless profile picture is the key to sparking platonic connections (yet several insist on trying).
Did I mention it’s for gay boys? Yeah.
So you’ve downloaded the app. You’ve made your profile. You see all these guys within a few thousand feet (or meters in any other country... or miles for those of you in Brooklyn), but no one’s messaging you. WTF!
Okay, so maybe it’s not a problem with the application. I don’t wanna say there’s something wrong with your profile, but… er… perhaps there’s something that you could do differently to maximize your utility from this app.
Well, I can’t turn you into the hottie everyone flocks to (at least, not for free), but these 5 simple steps will help you take control of how you’re perceived in the Grindr world.
1. Change your profile picture
This sound simple enough, right? You post a picture so that guys see what you look like. But what are these guys actually seeing? Grindr displays profiles in a grid, and each picture is a square thumbnail. But when you tap on someone’s profile, it enlarges to… well, not-a-square. So you may have dazzling nipple piercings, but if they’re at the edge of your picture, they won’t show up in anyone’s grid. So when you pick a pic, make sure to check it as a thumbnail and as a full picture.
|image taken from Grindr.com|
Also, your favorite cute picture may not be the most effective. Messages come when guys tap your profile out of the 20 profiles that fit on their screens. You have to figure out what your target audience is looking for and give it to them. For example, I don’t get as many messages when I have just my face posted (tear). Even more tragic: my most popular picture was of me in a speedo, which is against Grindr’s puritanical TOS! So they made me choose a less revealing pic!
2. Change your profile name
Because I’m really not going to message CumDump81. Ever.
Screennames on Grindr don’t have to be unique (e.g., you can have more than one Ryan2009… which is great because I’m pretty certain Ryan didn’t think anything of his screenname until around Thanksgiving of ‘09. Dumbass.).
|She serves carpet-drape realness, honey!|
Your screenname is the only thing besides your picture that shows up in the grid. It doesn’t have to be witty, but that doesn’t hurt. A lot of people choose to leave it blank, which is much more safe than choosing an awful one.
3. Change your profile text
You have the option of filling in a headline and profile text. With newer profiles, they’re cutting the character limits way down, so be efficient with your words. Again, many choose to leave this blank. Others choose not to read the drivel you typed… mostly because they can’t deal with another “not looking for hookups” accompanying a headless torso shot. I’ve heard.
I’ve also heard that they’ll lose it if they see “I don’t bite…” accompanying anything!
|looking with his nipples, obvi.|
But make sure that if you do choose to write something here, it’s something useful to guys you’re trying to attract. Perhaps something that will spark a conversation (or a proposition if that’s your style). If I see “New to the city. Say hi!” I might ask you where you moved from and how long you lived in the city. If I see, “40 year old Latino guy. 6 feet tall, 160lbs. Good looking,” I’m gonna think, “That’s exactly what I read in your stats. And since when do you get to judge yourself as ‘universally’ good looking?!” Then I’ll probably take a screenshot and put you in a Fun with Grindr post.
But honestly, if he’s clicked on your profile, he’s already intrigued. At this point, it’s just a matter of not scaring him away or making him roll his eyes.
4. Message guys you like
Yes. Send him a message. I know, I know: it takes the pressure off when the guy takes the initiative and messages you first. Which is why he hasn’t messaged you first.
|The guy in the first picture should take notes from this dude.|
Not everybody’s gonna respond. And of those that do, some might be one-word answers (which means he’s really not that into you). But there will be guys who wouldn’t have messaged you but will be glad to chat with you. Find a way to get him talking about himself (it’s probably his favorite topic). Sometimes even a “Hey, how’s it going” can get the ball rolling.
And if you’re not interested in engaging someone beyond a sexual inquiry, then “Sup” can be a totally valid opener. Otherwise, try to use complete sentences.
5. Check your fucking spelling
Good spelling and actual use of punctuation will never hurt your profile. I'm the worst speller I know, but the iPhone has this nifty function where it will underline misspelled words in red! Stop ignoring it.
|Note: half his profile focuses on his extensive education. Are YOU convinced?|
A few tips:
• you’re = you are ; your = it belongs to you ; ur = I ran out of
brain cells characters
• discrete means distinct (separate) and has nothing to do with subtlety -> mnemonic device: the Es are separated
• apostrophes are for contractions and to show possession. Even when you’re referencing letters or numbers (see bullet above)
• then = a reference to sequence or time (if you like me, then message me) ; than = a comparison (I like guys who are older than me)
And there you have it. Pretty basic, right?
1) Make sure your picture is distinctive in the grid, and check to see that your attention-grabbing features are presented both in the thumbnail and full versions.
2) Choose your screenname carefully, as it’s the only thing besides your thumbnail pic that shows up in users’ grid.
3) Make sure you reach your target audience via your profile text. No text is better than useless text.
4) Make the first move. It won’t work every time, but nothing makes your profile more noticeable to a guy than seeing that he has a message from you.
5) And check your spelling and grammar. I promise that basic English proficiency won’t make you look too smart to hook up.
I’m not saying these changes will flood your inbox, but they’re easy ways to take control of how you’re perceived when you sign on. And in the online world: perception is everything!
And just for kicks, here's the one Grindr profile that got me no messages (inspired by the Fire Island Invasion of the Drag Queens):
|Ugh, people have no sense of humor.|
Click here to check out my How-To series on Online Dating and Hook Ups.