The Facebook Dating Project

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Like many people living “ITE” (in this economy) I found myself laid off in the fall of 2008 and forced to be creative with my money and time.

I was (and still am) single and my friends told me to use the time off to get back into the dating game. I decided to invest in my romantic future and bought a six-month membership to Match.com. Six months later I not only had a job, I had a boyfriend! Good for me. But as '09 came to a close I still had the job, but the boyfriend was gone. After the shock of the break-up wore off, I decided this time I wanted to meet someone through a person I already knew, so why not use the one thing that holds the master key to my entire social network: Facebook. And the best part about it? It was free.

I don’t spend a lot of time online, but Facebook I like. I connected with people from high school, college and past jobs. I accumulated almost 600 friends and these were people I actually knew. So why not ask all of them to set me up? This way I could find out that my boyfriend was a drug addict who’s financially supporting his ex and living off a trust fund with no plans to work again at age 39 before I went out with him! So four months ago, the Facebook Dating Project was born. I was going to turn Facebook into my own personal (and free) dating site with just a few simple steps:

  1. Declare it in my status update. There is absolutely no point in doing something like this if you’re not willing to completely put yourself out there. You have to tell your network what you’re doing — I want to meet someone! Friends, help me do it! Via my status, I asked everyone to scour their network to hook me up with an available bachelor in Los Angeles.
  2. Follow it up in the notes section. Every time I go on a date I write about it and include a photo of my shoes (I’m a shoe whore) and the place where we met.
  3. Let your friends comment. There are fantastic differences in perspectives between men and women and everyone is, or has been single. All of my friends have something to say. And they are clear, subjective and opinionated. They have no problem telling me what I’m doing wrong and right on dates. They root for certain bachelors and knock others out of the running.
  4. Don’t be mean. I never use real names or descriptions of the dudes I go out with, none of them are my Facebook friends and I don’t hit below the belt. I just give an honest re-cap.

The results have run the gamut from phenomenal to disappointing. Some people changed their status updates to advertise me (at one point my ex responded saying he’d be interested, not knowing it was me). Others asked friends of friends in L.A. if they were up for a blind date. So far I’ve gone out with only five guys. I went out with one three times and was involved with another for two months. It’s been fascinating. I’ve learned 1,000 things from not only the experience but from the comments. Now, hundreds of people come up to me at parties; they send messages; they ask me for dating advice. And all of this, I learned through Facebook.

So, MainStreet is the new home of the Facebook Dating Project, where I’ll regularly write about this social networking journey and what it’s like to be single, on a budget, putting it out there. I've already had some pretty crazy experiences, like the time my date tried to convince me to have sex with him while watching Battlestar Galactica. I’m not kidding. Well, this Cylon was not down with that.

I have no doubt that I’ll be treated to lots more weirdness, and hopefully some genuinely nice experiences too. Just the other day, one of my friends told me she wants to introduce me to a Napa Valley-based "wine guy" who sometimes comes to L.A. on business. We’re setting up the date and I'll fill you in after we go out.

Wish me luck and let the dating games begin...

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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