Screen names matter

Research shows that people whose screen names start with letters in the first half of the alphabet receive better responses — the effect is as strong as that of posting an attractive photo. It’s not clear why this might be, but other studies have found that people whose names start with letters early in the alphabet tend to have more education and higher incomes.

In addition, screen names containing a negative word, such as “Bug” and “Litter,” went over more poorly than those with generally positive connotations, such as “Fun2BeWith".

Research also found that the men in the studies were more drawn to screen names that highlighted looks, such as “Cutie,” while women responded more to names highlighting intelligence, with words such as “Cultured.”

People also liked easy-to-understand language in a profile. Overall, women were drawn to bravery and risk-taking rather than kindness in males, while men sought physical fitness in women. Photos that show a dater amid a group of friends — possibly even touching another person’s upper arm — also do well, the researchers found.

Though humor is a prized quality, it’s better to show that through a witty profile, rather than baldly stating “I’m a funny guy,” the researchers found. In general, about 70 percent of a profile should be about the person and 30 percent should focus on what the person wants in a partner, the researchers concluded.

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