It's a good way to meet people, but it might take sorting through a lot of fish to find your soul mate. Plenty Of Fish is the largest free online dating service, and is also one of the most popular social communities in the world by number of visitors.
At this point, you're likely either feeling really safe or like the place is run by an overzealous prison guard, or a bit of both.
The main way to meet and contact people is through their profiles, or if you would rather get your toes wet before jumping in and accidentally telling some stranger you love them, then the active forums are for you.
The crowd is for the most part friendly, honest, open, and talkative.
It might be an effective way of meeting people without the pressure if you don't mind getting caught in the distance relationship trap, as it's unlikely that you will find a significant amount of people in the forums from your location.
Most profiles have at least two pictures, the basic form info, and a few lines of text that normally go along the lines of “I'm a nice guy, I don't know what to write here really so I'll just say something hopefully humorous for the next sentence or two.” The form information includes children (wants/has), smoking, zodiac sign, age, religion, drug use, if they have a car, profession, drinking, marital status, and education.