Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Love Lounge: Is it ever OK to Google potential dates?

It used to be that the love-struck, hoping to get a sneak peek into their romantic future, consulted ancient oracles, fortune tellers and Tarot card readers.

Well, modern daters, meet your new oracle: Google.

This idea of using Google as a not-so-secret weapon is nothing new. It swept the nation years ago, much like fire must have spread among cave people when that little novelty was discovered. In fact, I've ever written about it -- Google, here, not fire. After all, it's so easy to unlock a person's life with just a few clicks of a mouse. Yesterday, xoJane posed the "to-Google-or-not-to-Google" question on Twitter.

"Google is the new background check," I tweeted back. And I was serious.

Googling is like double-dipping at a party. Everyone does it, whether they admit to it or not. It’s not obsessive. It’s just human nature to want to know every piece of information about a person that you can possibly get your hands on.

Consider the Googleability Factor -- and yes, I coined that original term all by myself. It measures a guy’s (or girl's...) popularity on Google. Now, this popularity can be good or bad, but what’s more important is why there is so much digital dirt on this dude. For example, you’ll probably be relieved to find that he has a (legal) job (always a plus; bonus points if he’s been recently promoted or received some other sort of recognition for his outstanding performance), a photo album devoted to his family on Facebook or pictures in a newspaper from the weekend he ran for charity.
Don’t be shocked, though, if you develop a debilitating stomach ache if you discover: Photos of him at party after party (and FYI, it’s even less attractive if he’s over 30. Remember, boys, the number of parties you attend should NOT be in direct proportion to your age), a lengthy blog entry in which he basically describes Pamela Anderson as the perfect woman on earth or his profile scattered across every dating or social media site.

Some say Google-stalking (I prefer the term pre-screening) squelches any possibility for the excitement of discovering the many things one usually discovers about the other person on a first date: The fact that you both love Shakespeare revival festivals, the fact that you both get cravings for peanut butter and chocolate ice cream every time you go to the movies or the fact that you both loathe the sight of a dirty kitchen.

You still have those roller coaster, explosive “me too” moments. The only difference is that you’ll likely know they’re coming and won't have to hold on tight to said roller coaster and brace yourself for that big dive.
In the end, wouldn't you rather be in the know? Really, really in the know? When do you Google potential beaus? Is anything off limits? What sort of info are red flags for you? And, who else do you Google?  Exes? Crushes? Bosses? Estranged friends? I'd love to know, friends! xoxo

[Photos via We Heart It]


  1. You are so right in that everyone can (and likely will) Google-check someone in this day and age. If the information is publicly available, why not take a peek?

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  2. I'm all for using Google to look into potential dates/friends/ employers - etc. As a (once) single mom, you can never be to safe when it comes to who you let into you immediate circle.

    As someone looking for a job I'd like to know if future employers are going to be worth working for.

  3. Brilliant post, Melissa! Darling, I used to even check public records! :) I mean, as long as it is free and available, why not! Information is power! Happy 4th! Xo,

  4. Although I prefer to consider myself an amateur private investigator, my friends would definitely think my ‘creeping’ skills are borderline stalker.
    I have this uncanny ability to find crazy amounts of information about people in the matter of seconds (thank you Google keywords)!
    I’m really involved / participatory in all aspects of social media - Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc and because of this, I try to put my best foot forward as much as possible,
    lock down the parts of my account I don’t want the world seeing, etc. I always hope that the people that I ‘creep’ or I’m asked to ‘investigate’ from a friend, abides by the same social media mentality.
    Unfortunately, I have come across some wives and children that haven’t been “mentioned” by the guy that one of my friends begins dating.

    For the most part, Google is a way of confirming you are who you say you are. If you’re carefully tracking your ‘Googleability Factor’ (great word invention)
    – you’ll turn out just fine when I creep you!
    Also, Google lends itself to the community that is social media and the opportunity to build a repore or common factors pre-meeting, or before getting yourself in too deep.

    All in all, I say go for it! And Google yourself from time to time to make sure you’re making a good impression!


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