Don’t Let Your Online Identity Ruin Your Life

    April 10, 2007

It’s not just potential employers that are Googling your name, you also have to worry about your next date doing the same. According to AP, more people than ever are using Google as a free background checker, before deciding whether to risk dinner and a movie with someone.

The results can be enlightening, surprising and, sometimes, a little disturbing…In her dating life, she regularly did online research on her dates and turned up, among other things, “bizarre” fetishes and a guy who was fascinated with vampires.

It’s not just Google potential mates use to get the 411 on a new beau. Many young daters are digging into their social networks, using MySpace or Facebook to see what they can learn about their next date.

That was the case for Brad White, a 23-year-old recent college grad in Chicago, who met his current girlfriend through friends at a bar and immediately looked her up on Facebook. “The commonality of our music taste and friends is what prompted me to ask her out,” White says, “obviously, besides the attraction.”

While it’s sensible to do a little research on a potential partner, you shouldn’t trust everything you read online. Apart from many cases of mistaken identity (one woman shared the same name as a famous porn star), some quirks can’t be Googled.

…Danielle Martinetti says online research really only helps to a point, anyway. “The crazy stuff usually becomes apparent on the actual date,” the 30-year-old New Yorker says. “No amount of online searching is going to tell you that a person has issues with his mother, loves to be described as a George Clooney look-alike, has an overzealous obsession with hand sanitizer, or that he prefers to sit facing the door in a restaurant ‘just in case.’”