Earlier this month, I was talking about my favorite tools for cyber-stalking a crush. (To wit: The ol' reliable Google search, the reading of the personal blog or checking of the personal web site, the perusal of a Facebook profile or Twitter account, the cross-checking of the Amazon wishlist).
But I also realize that in the last few years, I've tried to avoid doing too much online private eye work when it comes to someone new that I'm excited about. Maybe that's partly because I'd prefer to have someone get to know me off-line, as an in-the-flesh human, rather than him forming too many opinions based on all the stuff that's out there on the Internet about me. I try to do unto him as I'd have done to me, so to speak. It's also because it can seem like a huge waste of time to amass a CIA-level file on some guy you've been correspondng with on OkCupid ... only to meet him in person and realize there's no chemistry. And even (or especially) if there is chemistry, spending too much time researching a person can intensify the obsession for me in a way that I don't like. I suppose it's also just more fun to hear about a person's backpacking trip through Europe when he tells you about it in person, rather than stopping him before he describes the wonderful little island in Greece where he spent a few months living in a hut with the admonition, "I already read about it in your blog."
MIT technology professor Sherry Turkle comments on my kind of nostalgia in her new book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by quoting a high school kid who is weary of the endless virtual realities of today's world. After commenting on how much work his schoolmates put into their Facebook profiles, he wistfully says, "It must have been nice when you could just discover a person by talking to them."
I agree! Do you too think that it's nicer to get to know a person just by talking? Or am I being a fuddy-duddy?