It’s summer. The birds are chirping and love is in the air. What do you do before a first date? Practice your charisma in the mirror? Try on a dozen outfits? Shower? (we hope it’s a special enough occasion…) Amidst doing all the common pre-date rituals, you may be forgetting the most critical one, the big G.
Your Date WILL Google You
According to It’s Just Lunch, a first date specialist service, 43% of singles have Googled their date before going out with them. Out of the 1,167 singles surveyed, 88% of them answered that they would NOT get offended if their date Googled them.While I’m not advocating or condoning Googling your date, I am suggesting that you spend some time sprucing up your online image (with as much if not more intensity as your physical image) before truly opening up and letting someone into your world. In the olden days, singles had no choice but to face their fears and give in to a rendezvous with nothing other under their belt than a general first impression (if you met the person once, or were set up on a blind date). Nowadays, we are used to getting rejected through too many technological and social mediums-Facebook, voicemail, text message, email, match.com, etc. (no one should experience getting a rejection tweet-that’s just evil).[pullquote]43% of singles have Googled their date before going out with them. Out of the 1,167 singles surveyed, 88% of them answered that they would NOT get offended if their date Googled them.[/pullquote]
As long as our name pops up as a search result on Google (and it truly is us and not an evil twin), we no longer have much control over who we grant access into a piece of our lives. One of the greatest tools of all time can easily become a crutch if you don’t take matters into your own hands. Google gives people the power to get to know you without ever actually having to meet you. It’s best to just treat your personal online brand as though you’re going on countless first dates.
50 First Dates
While your personal brand should reveal a part of your personality, it shouldn’t include risqué information such as your past relationships, any inappropriate images (from that college frat party…), or basically anything that you wouldn’t feel comfortable with if the other person found out before you told them (so, I read that you’ve invested in… and that you broke your leg in the 5th grade). You’ve long awaited for this day to come-the first date with that special somebody. Before you enter a realm of giddiness, glee, and gaiety, remember the most important G- Google yourself before (insert name) does.
If You’re the Googler
Hope for the best, expect the worst.
Worst case scenario: It’s quite possible that your upcoming date hasn’t read our blog post yet, so let’s give him/her some leeway and room for improvement. Let’s be honest, you’re Googling your date for the same reasons employers are-to get to the juicy stuff. While you’re hoping to bring up his/her high school information, such as if he really was the starting quarterback at his high school, if she really beat her high school’s 3200 mile track record, or are hoping to dig up some past relationships (to see if they’re a keeper-come on), you may be rudely awakened by his recent police blotter, find out that she recently filed for bankruptcy, or that your blind date is currently in a relationship (thank unblocked privacy Facebook settings). While it’s okay to admit that you Googled the person, it may be inappropriate to bring up any negative content unless they bring it up themselves first or if you’re really concerned, wait until the second date. Less mild instances could include finding a hate blog for the person, geeky middle school photos, nasty and rude comments about their work ethic, realize that who they appear to be in person totally doesn’t match their brand online, or just submerge yourself into an abyss of a million of the same names who isn’t them, which is perhaps the most disappointing finding of them all. Here’s an article we wrote recently explaining why consistency matters.
Best case scenario: You typed in that infamous first and last name. They pop up! The first Google results are secured with a website, a personal blog, a LinkedIn which includes a resume and past work experiences/achievements, and all available photos of the person match his or her niche (you even follow a few of the same people on Twitter!) This person did their homework and is presenting themselves in the best light possible. You found the missing piece to the puzzle and you instantly fall in love with this person’s brand (aka them online). You might be starstruck and maybe even feel a little bit intimated by this person’s online persona. However, never fully judge someone by some typed up info and clean cut photos. This is precisely why face-to-face interviews are the second step in the job seeking process. They’re more intimate.
At any point in time you might end your 2 hour Google search quest and be more impelled to get the facts directly from the source. The best research derives from the person themselves, and everyone has the right to tell you what they want and omit what they choose. When on the date, don’t dwell too much on the person’s stats and try not to be too intrusive, but get to know who they are away from the screen and ask questions. Since you’re already admitting that you researched the person (for time-saving and safety reasons, of course), some of the positive content you read up about the person might be good conversation starters for when things become tense, (so, you went to the University of Arizona, my sister graduated from there!) and any negative content you found might be from years ago, misinterpreted, or just outright wrong. Keep an open mind.
There’s nothing like going on a date with someone you’ve never met before. Put yourself in the Googlers shoes. One of the ways you can control your online content aside from SEO is by monitoring your activity. Even with privacy settings, whatever you quoted, said, or wrote online is permanent unless you delete it (and even then, it’s likely to be stored in Google’s cache). Your best bet: avoid those drunken tweets or those misspelled Facebook statuses. In turn, wouldn’t you like to know that your date has more important things to do on their night off than drunkenly tweet about it? If you don’t want to see it from your partner, they won’t want to see it from you either. The feeling is mutual.
At the end of the day you won’t want your Googler to know more about you than you’re comfortable sharing. For the most part, what you see is what you get, but don’t give too much away. Make the necessary tweaks, keep things fresh, and get your date on!
For additional great reads and incredible blogs check out: Don’t Date Him Girl, Single-ish, and Simone Grant’s blog.
Have any good stories about being Googled before a date? Please be sure to leave them in the comment section below!