Your Digital John Hancock

Flickr / Tom LothTo sign your name or stay anonymous — that is the question. When you’re emailing a new match, what is the net-iquette?  A recent trend — particularly on more casual dating sites — is to leave your name blank, eliminating the natural end to the virtual conversation. Maybe you’re trying to induce intrigue, don’t want to get too personal too soon or think that dropping your name will blow your privacy cover. Either way, let’s evaluate for a minute.

You’re not telling them who you are.  To some extent, that means that your virtual wall is still up. You’re not trusting them with this information, which can send the message that you’re not trustworthy yourself. You don’t want to start your online (and potentially offline) relationship that way, right?

If it’s mystery you’re going for, it’s better to put the intrigue into your profile than your first message. Your profile is what everyone gets to see; your message is something that should be specific to the match and make them feel connected to you. Signing your name at the end of the email furthers the connection you’re trying to build.

And remember, you’re not telling them your last name. Just your first. You’re making the screen name and avatar a reality — an integral part of transitioning online dating into an offline experience.