I once dated a guy I met on Twitter.

Yep. That was me. If you search “Twitter dating service” you get a lot of tweets about how Twitter is NOT and had better not turn into such a service.

Such as: #deleteyouraccount if you use if as a dating service..man im here to tweet not try to tlk to ya monkey lookin ass!

Um, ok. I agree it’s not a dating service. But hey, it is an open place to meet people. And I met someone, completely by accident. I follow various people in the Raleigh area, and he said something funny one day. So I sent him a flirty DM.

It would have made a great story, “How We Met On Twitter,”  but we weren’t a good match and two months later he turned out to be the jerk I call Darren. I guess we can’t all be Cinderella like Gwen Bell. (Definitely read her story.)

I’ll be the first person to tell you I don’t have a clue about online dating (only speed dating). I was about to try it last spring, for this blog and for the adventure of it, when I began dating Kevin.

However, a lot of you out there are making a New Year’s resolution to find some love in 2010. Online dating is a possibility. And more adults are trying it, at least according to this article. So I’ve taken it upon myself to check out some of the Twitter dating services.

I signed up for each service that I could find and checked them out. Of course, I’m not looking for a date, so this is based on the following factors: ease of use; cool features number of users/apparent likelikhood of finding a date, appearance/format.

If you see one I missed, please let me know. Rankings are on a 1-to-5 scale:
1=Don’t waste your time
2=Only if you’re bored
3=Might be worth a shot, but don’t get your hopes up.
4=Give it a try if the others don’t work.
5=Definitely worth checking out

Twitterbirds – feels a cheesy to me. The site has a lot of pictures of women showing skin, and after signing up, I only received spam/ad messages. The main page has a twitter-like feed of information , a video of a girl in a bikini and some tweets from the 117 Twitterbird members. When it came to searching for singles, there was no clear way to do so by geography. Sure, I guess you could find your true love in California, but it’s sure going to make things tough. A lot of the members seem to have joined a few months ago, but had no recent activity on their pages. This flash-in-the-pan isn’t worth trying if you’re seriously seeking singles in the Triangle. Rank = 1.

140love – allows you to sign in using your Twittername. I was immediately more impressed, as it walked me through the steps of filling out my status and geographic location, and then a field for the age, sex and location of “my match.”  The next page is more detailed, with drop downs to help you fill out your level of interest, pets, income, religious and political views, and questions like “my friends would describe me as.” They even include whether you prefer Coke or Pepsi and the number of times you shower per week.  All fields are optional. You then fill out the same for your possible mate. I didn’t get to see what happened next, because the site was giving me problems. Talk about a turnoff. I tried to go back to the site later and had the same problem so Rank = 3.5.

HintCafe – is very easy. You start on a sign up page, and then search for singles, selecting gender, zip code and age. Out pops the list of availables. I loved the ease of it, but after searching for men ages 25-33 within 50 miles of either Raleigh or Chapel Hill, I only got three, two of whom appeared mildly cute. I guess HintCafe missed the hint about promoting itself. According to my research, it was big last summer, so maybe things have just petered out. Rank = 1.

My Tweetheart
– has a cute name, but is a little complicated. You have to send them a twitter message to participate. I like this because it ensures you’re going to get a twitter person, but seems odd. The site isn’t anything too pretty to look at.  I sent them a tweet on Sunday around noon, and I haven’t heard back from them. But maybe they checked me out and decided I wasn’t serious. Rank=2.

Flirt140 – is easy like HintCafe. You can just search for people in your area without signing up. This time, I got a lot more hits. It does not allow you to choose by age, so I got a range of people, but it showed a twitter feed of their recent tweets. Once you click on someone, it requires you to sign in to twitter, and then you can view that person’s regular Twitter page. The only difference is that at the top it allows you to  “wink” at the person, follow them or send a private message. I’d say it’s worth the effort. Rank=5.

DateTwit – has a pretty cool process. First, you sign in with your twitter username. Then you click on the icon (boy or girl) of what you are and what you’re looking for. Once you’re signed up, you scan other users – either those signed up on with the service or just anyone on Twitter, narrowing it by geography, sex and age. If you choose to send them a drink or a smile, DateTwit will send them a note. The site has a place that will allow you to send tweets directly to twitter. You can even forward their name to someone else if you want to play matchmaker. The graphics are a little pedestrian, but overall, I thought this one seemed the most fun. Searching within 50 miles, I got 16 hits for guys in their 20s and 30s who were part of the service. Rank=5.

Radaroo – takes a unique approach. You send them a tweet with a specific message that includes your sex (m/f) and what you’re after (m/f/both), your zip code and what you would do on a first date. Apparently, they’ll send you back some suggestions, which I think would be pretty cool. You can also do a straight search of the 207 singles singed up for this one — only one in the 27612 zip code area — or ask if @username is single. If more Triangle tweeps were using this, it’d be fun to see who they’d send back. Rank=3.

I searched for two others I had heard of: We Just Click and Twitter Personals. Both appear defunct.

A few fun tidbits about online dating:

Gelato is a dating site that pulls from your Facebook, Twitter, Netflix accounts. You can learn about people by finding out where they spend their time, what movies they watch and whether they can tweet coherently or simply list their daily meals. This takes stalker to a whole new level.

-There is a site in Sweden called Singalo where your friends post your profile. The thought, according to TrendCentral, is that they’ll be better about explaining who you really are. Sounds like a strange intervention to me.