The girl who traded for truck.
Hot guy in Sharpsville laundry mat.
Saw you at the gun range.
These are just a few of the subject lines appearing on the Youngstown Craigslist’s “Missed Connections” page within the past week. Of course, there are many more, and a thousand such postings appear on Craigslist sites every day around the world.
Craigslist, better known for its free and modest fee-based classified advertisements, offers sections for postings that range from job announcements and real estate to other “for sale” items, community events and discussion forums.
The link to Missed Connections appears as a subsection of the Personal ads, and they tend to be the most intriguing for the casual reader. Other sections include the traditional “men seeking women,” “men seeking men,” “women seeking men” and so on.
Other subsections include “strictly platonic” and “rants and raves.”
If you go to Craigslist to look at postings in other Personal ad subsections, brace yourself. Some are honest-to-goodness singles searching for love, but many others are a little seedier.
You’ve been warned.
The notoriety of Missed Connections has made its way into comedy routines and musicals. “Dating Sucks,” a musical written by Youngstown’s Robert Dennick Joki, boasts a song written almost entirely centered on these posts, and Comedian Nick Thune’s song “Missed Connections” on Comedy Central is a must-see.
The subsection is more than 10 years old, but it’s nonetheless fascinating. Just like other Personal ads, the context for these posts usually revolves around two people.
A few posts reminded me of plots from movies such as “Sleepless in Seattle” and “An Affair to Remember.” With a little luck, a twist of fate, and a Craigslist post, true love wins.
When I asked my Facebook friends about their use of the Missed Connections section, one friend commented, “I used to [post] often. And I once had one posted about me.”
Another friend commented, “I had a friend who was posted about. It was funny because he worked at a grocery store, and another customer said, ‘You’re the guy!’ and explained the missed connections post about him working at the deli in this grocery store.”
With most missed connections, the scope of that initial contact varies.
Some couples might share a glance on a train, while others actually meet and connect (for purposeful lack of a better term). The connection is fleeting, but at least one person wants to reconnect. Unfortunately, no contact information is ever shared.
Of course, the odds of making the connection are astronomical. First, you must assume this person will read your post. Second, you must assume this person is single (or not), living in the area (or not), and is just as interested in meeting you as you are in meeting them based on some random online post.
In reality, you stand a better chance of meeting that person again by just showing up in the same location, on the same day, for the next month or so.
Here’s hoping the odds are in your favor.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is associate professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about social media and technology, sports and fans.