The explosion of personal information available with the click of a button has completely changed the face of dating. Back in the dark ages, like 2003?, when you met someone and started hanging out, there was really no such thing as Facebook. There were a few internet-y things available, but just nowhere near the level it is today. When you met somebody, you kind of had to rely on information they gave you, their friends gave you, and your own gut. Holy hell are things different today. Now you can confirm so, so, so many details very simply with just a quick Google and someone who failed "Privacy Settings:101." The question becomes is this a good thing or a bad thing?
How it's a good thing:
1. If the person has been forthcoming with even just a few details, you can run a background check for things like criminal records, sex offender status, and a history of having restraining orders issued. This is fucking serious shit. It sounds a little paranoid, but I know way more than one woman who thought she had met someone AWESOME who turned out to be a convicted felon or who had a serious history of domestic violence. You do need to know this information, especially if they are going to be in your home, around your kids, or have any kind of access to your wallet and personal info. Be smart. Don't be stupid.
2. Knowledge is power. If he says he is an ER doctor who works at John Hopkins, you can confirm that. If he says his divorce was final in 2008, yup, court records will show it. It is must more difficult to be scammed because the internet knows a lot of shit.
3. You are ultimately responsible for you. There are powerful tools that you can use to protect yourself and your home/family/kids/pets. It would be dumb to ignore them.
How it's bad:
1. It can make you a little stalkerish. He says he is out with the boys? You technically can monitor his and the friends FB pages, looking for check-ins and pictures with hot blondes. Say there is a hot blonde in the background... they might not even know that girl! She could totally just be there with Tyson Beckford.
2. It's possible to confirm every single detail ever provided almost and when there is something you can't, you might get extra paranoid. "If you guys were in fact at the game, how come blah, blah, blah?" Look. While a LOT of people do document there every move via social media, not everyone does (thank God.)
3. It reduces communication and trust. If you want to have a solid relationship with someone, you have to trust them. Trust comes with time. If he says he is at Jake's house breaking in the new pool table, that had damn well better be good enough for you. If it's not? There are more serious issues in this relationship.
So how does this all balance out? I'd say social media and the internet are by and large a good thing, when used responsibly and correctly. It's when those powers aren't being used for good, but for evil that it becomes a curse.
Any experiences you want to share about dating and social media? Tell us in the comments.
Oh Skyler... you know I love you... you well rounded, enlightened, ROOKIE. Yes, technically you're right about background checks for someone who will be around your kids, etc... but we need to talk.
Facebook. "1. It can make you a little stalkerish..." Duh. Facebook EXISTS for stalking. That's the damn point, and in this day and age, it's downright expected!
Oh sure, they CALL it "networking," but seriously, that's not what Facebook is about. The point of Facebook is to blog/diary your thoughts because in the real world nobody seems to have the time or inclination to listen, AND/OR to secretly check out your past, present, and potential friends and lovers.
Facebook is WAY better than any other resource for actually gaining insight in to someone. I mean, you practically HAVE to Facebook stalk. There are real issues to investigate... and inquiring minds need to know.
- Does this guy start a post (any post) with "Last night I was SO wasted..." Come on. Hello. Giant red douche flag.
- Do a majority of pictures include his mother, dog, kids (aka, small bi-peds as I will call them from this point forward), the ex, only chics with big boobs kissing other chics... pics of him in drag? These are important non-verbal life cues... and you know what they say, non-verbal communication is key. He may not even realize he has a "I live to play Call of Duty and eat Hot Pockets at 3 am" pattern, but you had better. On the flip side, you may actually find out he's a cool guy with tragically hip interests that he just doesn't brag about because they come naturally to him.
- Does he talk trash about... well... anyone? That speaks volumes because if he'll do it about an ex, or a friend, he'll do it about you.
- Does he post random pictures with cute poster captions? I actually like those, but it's definitely a clue.
You get the idea. I could go on forever here, and YES, I know I have a tendency to over think things and what the underlying meanings are... but I'm a girl, and that's just what I do... and what A LOT of normal women do.
Point being, I think it's OK to be stalkerish. Hell, Facebook is way better than driving by a house at a ridiculous hour or trying to be all smooth by gaining information from a person's casual friend who will absolutely judge you for it.
Trust. "3. It reduces communication and trust. If you want to have a solid relationship with someone, you have to trust them. Trust comes with time."
Oh PLEASE. Trust is earned by being trustworthy. So, when someone presents something to you as a fact, then why shouldn't you check it out? Then, when/if that fact turns out to be true, you're ten steps ahead in the trust game. If it doesn't, that's good to know too!
It's hard to trust. We've all been lied to over and over and over (and over and over). So, if someone tells you something and presents is as the truth, and you follow up online to verify it, I don't think that little investigation is a betrayal of trust. Rather, you're building the trust factor faster because you realize that the person CAN be trusted and you can let your guard down a bit.
OK, I'm done. I know, you've got the psych background (educationally speaking, not confinement wise ), but come on... we don't really live in the "due diligence without crossing boundaries" world.