Internet Killed The Dating Star: On Googling and Facebook Stalkingby Nikki Metzgar on August 09, 2012
Editor’s note: In case you missed them, catch up on Nikki’s previous Dating Diaries posts here.
I just think everyone should know that my ex-boyfriend thought the parody Twitter account @DRAKE_THOUGHTS actually belonged to the real Drake. If you are not familiar with this account, please go read it now so you understand how ridiculous that is.
This is just one small example of things you can learn about someone thanks to the Internet. My ex thought he learned something about Drake while I learned that my ex isn’t always so smart, perfect and dreamy. Our relationship was actually very 2k12; it never would have happened if it weren’t for technology. He asked me out on Facebook after we met at a concert, texted me for hookups during our intermittent breakups and ultimately ended things with an email. Such is modern dating.
There are some huge benefits to these technological developments. I have been asked out on several dates and found out about several jobs on both Facebook and Twitter. Think of how much time I’d spend broke and alone if it weren’t for social media. Earlier today, I Facebook stalked a coworker and stared intently at pictures of his hands to see if there was a wedding band. Good news: there wasn’t.
Bad news is that just like I Google my dates before things get serious is that people can also Google me. The search results are almost entirely articles I’ve written, so it’s nice to think that people might accidentally read one. Unless of course, it’s the dating diary they stumble upon.
Last week, I wrote about a first date. A few days later, the guy Googled me, read it and wasn’t exactly pleased about what I said. I definitely see how unpleasant it would be to find out someone was writing about you online, especially if she was saying she wasn’t feeling the date that much. I felt embarrassed and apologized, but I had actually said some pretty nice things about him. And of course, he did choose to Google me. Shouldn’t you know better if you don’t want to be disappointed? Even in a best-case scenario, I don’t think finding out from the Internet that your date loves the Wire and went to Paris with his last girlfriend is particularly useful information.
A few days ago, I stopped by a pizza place to pick up food. It turned out that the cute guy working behind the counter had gone to middle school with me. As soon as I left, I regretted not inviting him to hang out sometime and then comforted myself with the fact that I could go look him up on Facebook. Not only is that a pathetic substitute, knowing that I can always rely on the Internet to find people just might make me less bold in real life. If this were the 80s, maybe I’d have given him my number already and we’d be on our way to a Devo concert tonight.
We think that if we Google our dates, we’ll either be better prepared to impress or uncover some kind of dealbreaker before it’s too late. The fact that technology distances us from the consequences of dating might sound like a good thing, but I’m starting to think the bad always outweighs the good. What a better night it would have been to get rejected by a pizza guy in person than to just go home and plug his name into a search bar and contemplate messaging him. It might be easier to ask a cute girl to dinner via text and get a ‘no’ response that isn’t to your face, but that doesn’t meet it’s actually improving your dating life.
Last winter, there was a guy who constantly texted me late at night about hanging out and then seemed offended when I wouldn’t make time for him. Maybe he just straight up only wanted sex (entirely possible) or maybe he was cutting his losses before ever really putting himself out there. I mean, what girl would say yes to that kind of proposition? I was pretty much obligated to say no.
We all know that if you’re dating and you’re in your 20s, you had better get an unlimited text plan and get your cutest picture on Facebook. But I think that if we’re using these tools because we’re afraid, we’re missing out. Next time I see a cute pizza guy, I’m just going to give him my number in person. In fact, I did with a guy at a bar last night. He had a girlfriend, it turns out. He said he hoped I didn’t feel bad. I told him I didn’t feel anything at all.