An Open Letter to Carlos Danger - et al

Dear Carlos Danger et al,

First, what were you thinking? Possibly, in person, you are an engaging, and probably witty, maybe even funny guy, but seriously?! You resort to sending pictures of your body parts to women? Again, what were you, what are you thinking? No one wants to see your wiener, unless it’s a wiener dog. And by wiener dog I mean a cute dachshund with four legs, so get your mind out of the gutter.

There’s a Seinfeld T.V. episode, about being naked-in the privacy of your own home, and basically the culmination of the episode is that love it or hate it, a woman’s body is more  “like a work of art but a man’s body is utilitarian” (Elaine’s words, and some people may not agree) but stop sending pictures of it.  In the history of sending pictures of what you feel is so incredible it needs to be shared with not one, but multiple people across the internet, has it ever worked out for you? Because trust me, whether you are sitting at home alone, texting inappropriate body parts or a mayoral candidate sexting young girls no one wants to see it! It’s not that impressive. And, did you really think we wouldn’t talk? Just know, if you send a picture of your special friend we are a. going to share it and b. make fun of you and it – so again, what were you thinking? And ladies, this goes for you too. If you send naked pictures of yourself to someone I guarantee the chances are higher then you winning the lottery that it will get shared, at the very least to a few other people, at the most - who knows it ends up going viral.

There is no upside for anyone in this situation. Keep it in your pants and please, don’t share it on social media!

Keeping it Real – Skout Wing Gal

Don't Be A Stalker, Seriously

Skout Wing Gal - Keeping it real. Listen up girls and guys, I’ve got a piece of advice for your Friday – don’t be a stalker.

We’ve all been tempted at one point or another to check in on an ex’s Facebook account, or maybe send one too many text messages (or even drunk texts) to someone we like; but I guarantee once you start down this path you will just come across as needy and a little cray-cray.

Technology has made it not only amazingly easy to find out what people are up to, it has also created a disconnect in rational contact. What do I mean by that? Texting and emailing give you a buffer that face-to-face contact, and even talking on the phone does not have.  Look, Skout Wing Gal totally gets it – you start chatting with a guy or girl, you seem to hit it off, maybe you hang out and suddenly you’re sprung. Now all you want to do is chat with them, which is fine, its part of dating (the fun part) what is not fine is obsessing about them to the point of stalker tendencies.

I’m going to date myself a little but, it used to be if you wanted to chat with someone or see what they were doing you had to actually pick up a phone and have a real conversation, actually commit to communicating with them. Now, you can pick up your cell – type a quick text and off it goes to cyberspace with minimal commitment on your part. Because of this disconnect you might find yourself texting again and again and before you know it you’ve got your phone in your hand, finger poised to tap send on the 50th message in under 15 minutes.

Listen closely: STEP AWAY FROM THE PHONE!

Getting to know someone is about discovery, give him or her time to respond, to miss you, to wonder what you are doing (more on over sharing next week). Texting over and over while checking their profile (and yes, they can see if you have) only leads to them feeling suffocated and possibly even a little nervous, and no one likes that.

Take it from Skout Wing Gal, don’t be a stalker – text responsibly.

 

Terms of Service Update and a Reminder

With tens of thousands of new users signing onto our app each day, we’re working hard to make the experience of meeting new people as fun and positive as possible.  We want to do this by staying true to our community and maintaining your trust, so we regularly review and update our Terms of Service (TOS). Today we rolled out some updates to the TOS, so that it’s easier to read, more transparent, and fully represents the intended uses of Skout and the character of our community. Importantly, although our Privacy Policy has long declared that Skout does not intend to accept registrations from children under 13, our TOS now explicitly forbids children under 13 from using our service. Skout is designed for two separate communities – adults and teenagers 13 and older – and we’ve made sure to spell that out as clearly as possible in this updated TOS. We encourage you to read the full policy and we welcome your comments.

Related to the TOS changes, we want to remind the community about what is and isn’t allowed on Skout. One of the things that users love most about Skout is that we are all about preserving and re-creating the “magic” of serendipitous meetings, making possible a wide range of social connections from friendship to networking. But while we love to foster serendipity, we aim to take the risk factor out of it. How do we do that? In several different ways:

  • One, we are obsessively focused on keeping our community safe. We have zero tolerance for bad behavior, and we ban about 40,000 devices each month for violations of our standards. Our community managers monitor activity 24/7, using custom-built tools to identify suspicious or inappropriate keywords and behaviors, in partnership with our vigilant users. Every single report from our users is looked at by a real person and addressed in a timely manner.
  • Two, unlike many location-based apps, Skout provides general rather than specific location information, empowering each community member to decide if, when and where to meet in person. Community members never have to reveal any personal information except age and gender. You are in control of your online experience at all times – and we always recommend that users remain anonymous until they feel ready and confident that the person they’ve been chatting with is safe to meet. If you ever feel unsafe or threatened, Skout recommends that you cease communication and report any misbehavior immediately using the Report button or emailing support@skout.com.

If you get to the point where you are ready to meet your new Skout friend in person, please refer to our safety tips, that we shared on the Skout blog a few months ago.

 

Break the Ice Without Breaking A Leg


Shows like It’s Jess, and characters like SNL’s Shy Ronnie always originate from somewhere. And more than likely, that somewhere is actually someone. Everyone has that one amazing, but shy friend that could use a little help meeting new people. Even some of the most extroverted and confident people can be socially awkward given the right circumstances. Depending on the degree, people even get anxiety because of it. But for those that just need a little push in the right direction, here are some easy tips you can use to get out from that social rock you’re under, and into the world!

Go to places of interest. Surround yourself with things that you enjoy, and are familiar with. That way you’ll feel comfortable, and end up meeting people with the same interests as you making it easier to find something in common to talk about. If you like art for instance, visiting your favorite art exhibit would be a good idea. If you’re feeling extraadventurous, attending the grand opening of an exhibit would be even better!

Socialize. Finding places to meet people is easy, now comes the hard part - actually talking to the people you meet. However, it’s only as hard as you make it, and a little goes a long way. Considering the person isn’t in a rush, asking questions is a good way to keep a conversation flowing. Pay attention to the things around you and talk about something relevant that may start up a conversation. When all else fails, a simple “Hello,” usually does the trick just fine.

Assimilate & Communicate. You’re not off the hook just yet! Once a conversation has started, there is still the task of keeping it going. Pay attention to the other person’s facial expressions, responses, and body language during your conversation, so that you can gauge what interests them and what doesn’t. Don’t change who you are, but do be considerate of the other person’s beliefs. And if there’s something that could be misunderstood, whether it be something you said that came out the wrong way or a weird tick you have, let the other person know! The both of you will feel more comfortable afterwards.

Smile. This is probably the easiest thing you can do, as well as something you should be doing lots of regardless. A smile is the best way to start a conversation without even having to open your mouth! It lets people know you aren’t closed off, are pleasant, and have a positive attitude. Even if the intention isn’t to meet someone, a smile can make someone else’s day without you even realizing it.

Last, but definitely not least - Skout! We aren’t a part of the fastest growing social scene for nothing! The fact is, some people need a little help breaking the ice and feel more comfortable doing so behind a screen. It gives you the ability to get to know someone before really getting to know someone. And if you’re too shy to wink at someone as they walk by you on the street, you can always send them a wink on Skout instead!

Meeting new people doesn’t have to be so daunting. It’s a “must” in a world where who you know is just as important (if not more) than what you know. They say that closed mouths don’t get fed, so make sure you don’t starve! Meeting new people, and more importantly - making new friends - makes life more fruitful, and full of happiness.

 

Try Something New!

After countless hours of debate, I finally did it: I made an online dating profile. It wasn’t a mockery for those who partake in online dating, I just thought my curiosity to see what kind of people were on there wouldn’t last more than 15 minutes. If you had asked me a few months ago, I would’ve said only losers met people online. People who were too socially inept to make friends or too desperate to get dates in “real life.”  Then, I realized I was the loser for being so presumptuous, not to mention ignorant. Because my mom was on it, and she gets approached left and right. A man I used to date was on it, and he has NO problem getting ladies. And two, beautiful extremely successful friends of mine were both on it – one of which is currently smitten with one of her matches.

Yet, I was still cynical. As I sat there scrolling through photos of people near me, I literally face-palmed in embarrassment at some of the biographies. But then I realized that I was doing this all from home on what was probably a Friday night at 8:30pm, in jammies, with no makeup, probably eating ketchup chips. All while the girl with less hang-ups was probably on her fourth date this week.

Amidst the few cheeseballs that were strictly looking to bang and the douchettes simply in need of self-validation, there were lots of those who just wanted to meet new people and were exploring new fun ways of doing so.

That’s exactly the thing - it doesn’t have to be that serious! It’s only as serious as you make it. Having a Skout profile doesn’t have to mean love, marriage, and a baby-carriage. Nor does it have to be about “hooking up.” It doesn’t have to be about dating at all! And more and more people are making new friends and creating awesome memories with them every day. So have fun, and live a little. Then, if the signal’s strong you’re free to make the connection in person.

Going the Distance

Someone once asked me if I had any advice on long distance relationships, to which I half-jokingly replied, “Yeah, don’t do it.” The sad reality is relationships in the same city are hard enough as is, and sometimes people who live in the same house have a hard time communicating with each other. Nonetheless, we live in a time where meeting someone online can be more sufficient than meeting someone on the train ride home, and technology only makes it easier to have a “friend circle” that circles the globe. Unless you’re still using a pager, having some type of long-distance relationship in life - whether it be for work, friendship, or matters of the heart - is inevitable.

Skout can help start those relationships. It gives you the ability to make a new friend in Spain all from the comfort of your own home in New York. It allows you to see what’s going on in China, while you’re waiting for your laundry to dry in Seattle. Whether across the country, or right around the corner, Skout has the potential to bring people together. But while Skout helps build relationships, it’s up to YOU to keep them.

This is the part where it can get tricky. Long distance relationships can feel like an amazing vacation, or a heart-wrenching deployment. One thing is for sure; it is not for the faint of heart – or text. Fortunately, there are little things you can do that would mean a whole lot to the other person, and ultimately, the relationship.

Try to set up a weekly if not daily time for the two of you to have a Skype chat, or phone call. Being consistent shows the other person that they are a priority in your life despite not physically being there. If you have to break a date, let them know beforehand or as soon as possible afterwards. Keep them in the loop, so that you can keep them in your life. Distance can turn mountains into molehills, so not picking up your phone for 10 minutes can seem like an hour. It all boils down to trust, and communication.

Although everyone is only a Tweet, an email, or refresh button away, nothing beats physical contact. Next to nothing is comparable to hugging your brother that just got back from Afghanistan, or smelling your girlfriends hair for the first time since she moved across the country for college. Nevertheless, it’s still good to know that you can watch your best friend graduate via FaceTime, and that the cure for a boring Friday night can be found at the drop of a Wink Bomb.

Spring Into Action

So spring is in the air, you’ve met someone on Skout, and you’re thinking of meeting this person IRL.  First of all, congrats on meeting someone you like!  Second of all, I’m going to give you some tips about Springing into Action, making this meet-up the best it can be, and helping the relationship bloom. Caffeine doesn’t guarantee activity.

Now that spring is here, a whole bunch of date ideas just opened up.  Although going for a coffee with someone might turn out really well, doing something active and/or outside is much more dynamic and you can avoid any awkward silences with you sitting there staring at the foam on your latte.

Here are some spring date ideas! Thank me later.

  • The zooAnimals are always entertaining to look at and hey, she’s bound to squeal about fluffy pandas (Guys, admit it, you think they’re cute too.  If not, there are badass tigers.).  You can walk around, chat, get food, and watch monkeys.  Perfect.

  • Picnic – Picnics are inherently romantic.  You don’t have to bring a lame basket; Throw some sandwiches and a blanket in a backpack and get going to the park.  The sun, spring breeze, lying in the grass…  Nice weather and sunshine puts people in a good mood.  Fact.  And you guys can be totally cute and talk about the clouds!
  • The market – If you live in or near a city, go walk around the hip areas or Chinatown.  Check out some markets, shopping, and weird stores.  Having lots of stuff to do and look at will spark conversation.  Like that Hello Kitty toilet paper…who would buy that??  Isn’t a little weird having cute cartoon kittens on something you um, wipe with?  See…interesting!

Really, any kind of date where you can enjoy the spring splendor will be fun.  The most important thing is to be yourself and relax.  You’ve already chatted with this person on Skout for a while, so it’s not like it’s a blind date.  Pick one of the sweet date ideas above and Spring Into Action!

Ok, ‘Mom’ time -

I know you’ve heard these safety tips a hundred times, but seriously, they are important and all it takes is one time of being silly… So read them, keep them in mind, and just be smart, you know?

Meet up in a public place. This is pretty much Rule #1 for meeting people for the first time.  This way, there are other people around you (‘public’, duh) and you’re more likely to be safe.

Tell people where you’re going. You probably tell your friends about your dates anyway, so it shouldn’t be hard to mention to someone where you’re going and with whom.  It doesn’t have to be in a lame way... Tell them you met some cute girl/guy and you’re going to P.F. Changs tonight.  By the way, get the lettuce wraps – they are awesome.

Don’t get drunk. I know that a drink can help with your first-date nerves, but keep it to one!!  Have some self-control and you won’t make any bad decisions.  Related, it’s not a good idea to go drinking for a first date.

You know what really grinds my gears?

Sometimes I just wanna say, O.M. G. Did he really just say that? It should be a criminal offense when a guy lacks game.  It’s sad but we can (try) to help! Viva la (Skout) revolution! Pet peeves, we all got them so let’s dish it out (semi constructively). Let’s give fellow Skouts an insight to what’s annoying as BLEEEEEP so we ALL can avoid them. Deal?

Grrrrrreat. Let’s begin.

Ladies and gents, we all want the same thing. What’s that you ask? A BREATH (or even a gust) OF FRESH AIR!!!  As cliché as it sounds, its BLEEEEEPING true! Unfortunately, I can’t exactly tell you what to say to charm your flirt. Wahhhh! I wish I could. However, I can advise you on what NOT to say. To avoid sounding like a mentally bankrupt douche/douchette, refrain yourself from blurting anything sexual within the first few hummm…seconds!! This happens a whole bunch. More than you know. It’s pretty much the general rule to NOT say something you wouldn’t humanly say to another person’s face. Well, at least not someone you just met?! Remember that you’re hiding behind a screen for goodness sakes so, please please please stop acting all ballsy. It’s definitely not a cute look.

Fellers, would you just mosey on up to a women and say, “Hi. Wanna see my shaaalong?” I hope not! That’s really creepy and in the real world we would call that sexual harassment! I’d run, hide, duck and cover. How haunting would that be?

Anywho, the moral of this story is to HAVE (a tad bit) RESPECT FOR YOURSELF (AND FELLOW USERS). It’ll get you much further than being a total creeper. Self respect is pretty sexy – it demonstrates that you have principles, integrity and a buncha other good stuff. But, that’s just me.

So, Skouts, what are some of the things that grinds your gears? Whether it’s on Skout or just in general, we’d like to hear from you!

Good day, Sheena