Thursday, July 19, 2007

Blind dates? Don't be daft, we're all watching . . .

My long-term relationship with the Telegraph ended with an amicable parting a year ago as I took my GSOH off in search of a new soulmate.

But anyone looking for a similarly meaningful attachment may well be mightily p****d off if they've used the paper's website to play cupid.

From memory, what greets users of their dating channel is a neat piece of functionality that allows even the most luddite lonely heart to post their details safe in the knowledge that they'll engaging with other Telegraph types.

What they actually risk is their picture being plastered over large parts of the site for all to see.

They're auto-generated and designed to pop up in the right-hand navigation on stories in sections with a leisurely tone. It's a clever device to drive up page visits but sadly typical of some of the more madcap ones I would, in a previous life, have strangled at birth.

They will undoubtedly increase awareness of an area of the site many core readers will not know about but it shows a worrying lack of insight. This type of service, in the wider context, is all about discretion. This is a world of cosy nicknames, box numbers, neutral venues and discreet introductions. Not one in which singletons stand on tables in crowded bars and shout "I'm free."

And certainly, I can't imagine anyone being too chuffed at posting a photo to an area I'd envisaged to be members only and found it appearing next to the headline Scary Monster.

I'm sure that, if the participants wanted their pictures flyposted on billboards or stuck to telephone boxes,they'd have saved their joining fee and done just that.

I'll give it 48 hours before the penny drops and someone chaperones them away from the public gaze.

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