Point 3 would be why you wanted to contact them, point 4 might bring up a common interest. I walked away from my dating experiences with a lot of new friends, and though I got lucky and found an awesome chick to date longer-term, I just as likely might not have, and I would have had to be happy with a double-handful of new friends.
Point 5 would be your parting words, something about hoping to hear back from them, and point 6 would be your ‘Goodbye! And I would have been, too, because I told myself ahead of time that whatever came of it I would at least have met some new people outside of my usual social group, gained some new (and sometimes quite bizarre) stories to tell, and tried something new (which should never be discounted).
Making an active effort, though, can establish you as one of the good folks of the online social circle, and can only be beneficial to you down the line (you never know where being a good person will help you out in the future).
This doesn’t matter as much to some people as others, but I can tell you that I personally have not continued conversations with people on dating sites for no other reason than because looking at their garbled and grammatically-incorrect messages hurt my eyes and my feelings.
When many people think of online dating, they think of all the World of Warcraft addicts and goth kids from high school getting together online trying to get dates.
I actually felt the same way about it until I undertook a research project a year and a half ago that led me to join 18 different dating sites, going on a date with a girl from each one.
That’s the beauty of a network that knows no boundaries…unlimited options for everyone.
And if you find that the people YOU like are out of your league, well then start running laps and learning a new language, because online dating with not help you fake out someone for long, buddy.
If you’ve been back to the same person’s page 10 times today, it’s time to send him/her a message, otherwise you might become known as a ‘lurker,’ essentially the Peeping Tom of the online dating world, who is basically there to look at other people’s profiles and do god-knows-what while looking at them. Thirdly, if someone sends a message to you, it’s usually good form to send them something back.
Now, if their message to you is at all off-putting (sexually-charged, offensive, too short to glean anything from, etc), then just delete it and go on with your day.