Hopeful 6 Hopeless 3
This is meant to be today's post. I really wanted to post Responding to First Messages yesterday, but I wasn't able to finish it. So anyone reading me should just keep that in mind. Today (July 21st), these are my correct Hopeful/Hopeless numbers. In Responding to First Messages, then, any reference to "today" was meant to be Friday (July 20th) and thus "yesterday" is in reference to Thursday.
As you see, today I am beginning to feel better physically and emotionally. I feel slightly less overwhelmed, because I have discovered some tricks to facilitate the Plenty of Fish process. This is what I wanted to share in this post, how I am gaining better control over the service, or generally "getting the hang of it".
Mainly my problem before was about being too visible. I know that I mentioned in a previous post how if you are online often, people see your profile more readily. That is how they know you exist and they message you. That is how, just when I cut back my messages from 30 to 19 or something, here I get back up to about 28 again. My first solution was to avoid what I called "high traffic times", that is, times when EVERYONE and his dog are on Plenty of Fish. I discovered that one of my main problems on the first day was just that: I was finishing up my profile right during a high traffic time. That is why I got so many messages and chat requests in just the first few minutes I was on the website. So I began avoiding being on the site between 12 and 1. It's like everyone goes on their lunch break at work and Immediately jumps on to Plenty of Fish! The next high traffic time I became aware of was the evening. It didn't really matter what time of the evening, the site was busy. So I began trying to stay off of it as much as possible from 4 onwards (although between 4 and 6 doesn't seem too bad, I suppose because people are headed home from work at that time). In case anyone was wondering, late in the evening is also no good. The sheer amount of people on Plenty of Fish around the midnight hour is downright frightening! Thinking about it, that makes sense, because when single people are most lonely tends to be at night (in fact, it keeps some people up at night!). I don't know about you, but I certainly don't like to have total strangers trying to have a conversation with me at such a late hour; I find it creepy!
Avoiding high traffic times has reduced the number of messages I receive. However, I was still getting new messages every day. Couple those with the people I have already begun to talk to and it starts adding up fast. I figured out that leaving the web page was not sufficient, because I would be timed out only after a certain period of time, not just by simply closing the page. I had thus figured out the necessity of signing out. The other apparent advantage to doing this is that you accumulate "sign in" points. I don't know how useful these are, but it seems you can send electronic gifts such as flowers and teddy bears with messages. I have not done this yet because I'm not playing favourites; I'm just trying to get to know people. I don't know if these points are useful in any other way yet. It occurred to me today that there was a sure way to further reduce the amount of times I sign in. I remembered that I didn't need to check Plenty of Fish to know if I had new messages because this information is delivered to my inbox. I just hadn't checked my pseudonym hotmail. Boy did I ever get the shock of my life this afternoon when I opened it up to find nearly 200 Plenty of Fish e-mails! Other than a couple of stray ones, that gives you a pretty good idea of the number of messages I have received since Tuesday. It is completely insane!
The final trick I have developed is not composing messages on Plenty of Fish. I have instead started copying my unanswered messages into Word. It makes for a massive and daunting document, but I can simply type my answer below the person's message (like I would if I were answering an e-mail or Plenty of Fish message) and then paste it into Plenty of Fish the next time I sign in. When I told my friend Natalie about this, she reminded me that I can't copy/paste on their site. It would seem that this only applies to first messages. When I look at a message I've received and hit the reply button, it lets me paste in my answer from Word with no problems. I can thus fire off several messages in a matter of a couple of minutes and then immediately sign out.
These are tips that I would highly recommend to anyone attempting Plenty of Fish. I hope that this helps at least one person out there :)
Stay Hopeful, readers,