The Dating Debate – To Google or not to Google?

Something just happened to me recently. After going on a Dating Blitz, a very special lady opened me up to an interesting, yet questionable practice that never really crossed my mind until she brought it up — Googling someone you’re interested in dating. Even though my life is so entwined with all things Google, I never expected the collision of Google and my dating life.  The thought of Googling someone was foreign to me, as I am one who prefers to learn about a person face to face, rather than rely on the information that’s scattered out there over the internet.

Naturally curious, I ran a quick and informal poll on our Twitter account and our Facebook Fan Page and found that it was indeed a common practice, admitted or not.

Research or being just Plain Creepy?

Some people swear on using Google to scour for every bit of information (“dirt”) they can find on a person to decide whether or not they’re date worthy. As @andrealiew , one of my followers on Twitter so aptly put, “Background checks? Hell yea.”

To be honest, I was a bit creeped out at first after I found out that everything I had published online was checked out and analyzed. She was very thorough and found stuff that I was embarrassed about even.

But then I thought, I chose to share substantial portions of my life online through my blogs, lifestreams and past projects. I didn’t put anything out that I didn’t want people to see – it was a reflection of myself and whatever I was doing at the time. I suppose everything I had published online was fair game. Knowing this put me at ease and I was cool with having been “Googled” afterwards (combined with knowing that it actually helped make me seem more eligible in her eyes : ).

There is a fine line between Googling someone just to get a feel for their overall character and looking to unearth every single bit of “dirt” you can find on a person. Sure, you can find interesting information on a person, where they work, what some of their hobbies are and what their general outlook on life is. That is all “fair game”. The exception should be, if you have a private blog or Facebook profile, and your date find out details that are available only through those channels through sneaky methods, then you can feel legitimately creeped out .

Your Online Presence

Your online presence consists of everything from Google/Search Engine results, your personal/professional blogs, Twitter , Facebook , Foursquare, Social Media platforms, comments on blogs and everything that might have your name attached to it. What people find about you online can affect their perception of you, be it good or bad.

You might even risk the chance of being judged based on your online personality. Say your your date sees your drunken pub-crawl pictures and tags of you from your bachelor boys nights out on your Facebook page. You may lose the chance at ever being able to show your true self during the actual date. And bam, just like that, your chances of charming the socks off your date may be out the window, and you’re forever categorized as being some drunken player, and not the sweet, and intelligent person you may be. It’s just a classic case of judging a book by it’s cover.

Managing your online presence and privacy

Anything that people find about you through Google Search results is fair game – be it a positive or negative reflection – it can highly influence the perception of you. Fortunately, you can manage and “curate” your online presence that reflects your best traits and characteristics (your “best self”).

Google yourself and think about what you’ve found. Ask yourself, and pretend to put yourself in your date’s shoes on whether your blog entries, or pictures would make you seem attractive or a total dud. Whatever you find on Google (or on any other major search engine for that matter) is like how you look “on paper”.

Understand that whatever blog post you’ve put out onto the internet that has your name attached to it is fair game unless you’ve made it private or use an untraceable nickname.

I make it a point to keep my Facebook profile private as I’m a huge dork and want to maintain some semblance of privacy in my life. Some things I’ve shared simply because I was encouraged to by friends, however embarassing it might have been.

Rule of thumb before publishing anything online, ask yourself, “am I comfortable sharing this with the entire world to see?”What about deleting posts/blogs? Because Google literally crawls and indexes pretty much everything that can be found on the internet and saves the most recent copy on their own servers, attempts at instantly deleting content that doesn’t reflect favourably upon yourself are useless. Think twice before hitting “send” or “publish”and carefully look after your online reputation.

The “Googler” or the “Googled”

When you Google someone, it is no worse than you “getting the lowdown” or inside scoop about a person your interested in – you’re just bypassing the need to talk to someone and letting their online presence “do the talking”. It works both ways and this can help you or undermine your dating life.

Google is literally a “game changer” in the world of dating. It allows you find to out interesting bits about the person you’re attracted to or turn you off completely. In essence, the internet, be it Google, Twitter, Facebook etc, has accelerated the discovery phase in dating. It’s up to you to lock down your online identity and how you show yourself to the world or making a choice to manage and curate your online identity so you’re showing the best parts of yourself. The moral of the story is if you Google a person, don’t let him or her know you have until they’re a cool person and seeing each other Other tips:If you’re a “Googler”:

It’s probably not a good idea to let the person you’re starting to see that you’ve found every little detail about them online on a first date or first few times.

Your curiosity might kill the “discovery process” because that accounts for pretty much half the fun of dating.  While it’s natural to quench your curiosity, it might kill the intrigue and mystery about a person if you decide to do your “research.”  Save some of your curiosity for face-to-face conversations when you’re out on a date and find out whether or not the person is who they say they are online.

Read between the lines and err on the side of caution – some stuff you find out a person might not be true at all and in fact all fiction. Find out about a person’s personality in the flesh is the best way to determine whether or not they meet your standards.

If you’ve been “Googled”:

Oh yeah.. there’s other ways of enhancing your dating life through Google as well Enjoy.Have you ever Googled someone as part of your screening someone for their “dateability”?

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