The Internet giveth, and it taketh away. In the old days, our pictures and stories used to live safely in vaults in our own home.
But these days, many of us have an "online persona." We have to be careful how we manage this persona because we don't want the wrong information to fall into the wrong hands.
Google and Facebook are the two most dangerous entities.
How often do you Google someone after you meet them? You can find out a lot. I am kind of a traditional guy, so I don't usually Google people to open that Pandora's Box of information that lives on the Web.
A simple Googling of my name yields a plethora of information. It's complicated because I have an "online persona" through this blog — any woman can get the goods on me. Googling my name offers the following information:
- I write a blog on Marie Claire
- I have advice for women on how to make me miss them
- I have a crush on Sarah Palin
- The readers and writers at Jezebel blog hate me
- There's a Rich Santos who is a fly fisherman (therefore, he's obviously cooler than this Rich Santos)
- Some guy named Rich Santos is campaigning for votes on Facebook
And if someone clicks further after searching, they will find out I like porn, I was afraid I was gay, and I once thought I had crabs.
Suffice it to say, my chances are dashed if some girl Googles me.
But Googling can lead to all sorts of avenues. I met a cute actress one time, and she instructed me to Google her to check out her performances on YouTube. I got all sorts of info in my Google search, including articles about her performances, images, and video.
You can control, to an extent, your online activities. So, Googling is a slight risk, but not as risky as Facebook.
Guys are pigs. The first thing we do when we meet a girl is
add her on Facebook and look at her pictures, specifically:
- Look for the latest "summer" album for bikini shots
- Look at her friends to see if they are hotter
I've had large gatherings of guys around the computer checking this all out when one of the tribe meets a girl. I did caveat these two activities by admitting that we are pigs.
A bad profile picture can doom you.
Remember, this is the first impression.
The scariest thing about Facebook is that others can tag you in pictures, so you must remember to untag your horrible pictures. I'm a victim because I rarely take my own pictures, I act like a total idiot in many pictures, and I'm not photogenic. Triple whammy.
So, if some girl looks at my Facebook pictures to make sure that my cuteness was not assisted by the lighting in the bar and her intoxication, she'll learn that I'm a bad-looking buffoon.
Personally, I'm a bit intimidated if I see pictures of tons of guys with the girl, too — they either all want to date her, or protect her. I'm not the confrontational type, so I might give up pursuing her. If a girl has lots of slutty pictures, it's hot, but it's off-putting.
Your Facebook profile has many things that can make or break you. Maybe your music makes you cooler, maybe it makes you lame. You can even glean "emotional state" from pictures and info on Facebook: recent breakups, guy problems, etc., from posts from friends and status updates.
I've used status updates to be "clever" or "cool" (by saying that I'm in a cool bar) for a particular girl to see. In fact I've created status updates for a particular girl before.
Status updates are a little timeline of your life and thoughts. Over-updating is lame, though — my co-workers and I follow one girl's over-updating religiously. It's glorious, empty entertainment that makes us dumber, like Us Weekly.
A sampling of her status updates:
"Off to spin class, then dinner with my guy."
It's clear this girl just wants people to see she works out. Over-updating can be a deal breaker — remember, if you date, then you will become a main character in these many updates for all to see.
I suggest keeping online personas close to the vest: Manage your privacy settings whenever possible. In my opinion, there's a better chance of something incriminating showing up than something attractive.
And don't act like an ass in 99% of your pictures like me. You never know where they will end up.
Have you ever had a relationship affected by Googling or Facebook? How much do you use each of these entities in the dating process?
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