My #1 rule for online dating is simple: Make a new user name and email that is not associated with your “google-able search results” in any way. I don’t have the fancy OkCupid charts to back this up, but just only years of experience using OkCupid and other sites to try and find love. Turns out, that stupid “interesting” posed picture you posted may get you the date, but you’ll want to try and make sure you steer the first steps and the Internet does not.
By far the biggest one is that it gives you some security when exchanging information and makes you less traceable should things go bad. In fact, I often rarely give out my phone number to people I am meeting for the first or even on thesecond date. This might sound extreme, but love is fickle and you never know what someone is motivated by. Not to mention, I ended up with a stalker for a while. The completely independent email and screen name gives you at least somewhat of a buffer as you get to know your date.
Tip: Limit your last name to a single letter or even the name of the dating website you’re using when you create the account. I recommend gmail.com
2) You get to reveal your information as you want to, not as your Facebook broadcasts it.
Or Twitter, or Flickr, or LinkedIn, or really anything else. For myself, I’ve often wanted to feel out dates before I let them know about my twitter habits, or girlhack.com, or that I worked for some huge companies. Call it an old fashioned attempt to have someone like me for me and not for my “persona”, but I think it’s worth it. I think this also makes for a more meaningful exchange at the first date and cuts down on the “I’m going to casually mention / or question everything I read about you online, but LOOK like I’m not trying to.” If you wanted to know what makes a first date more awkward, this does.
Tip: Thinking all of your social networks are locked down and this doesn’t apply to you? I once dated a guy who didn’t use ANY social network, but I ended up finding out how much he had paid for the condos he owned. Not exactly information I would think might be out there, but stuff you might not realize could be pulled up with your name or normal online handle.
3) People are getting more savvy to not just search by Name, but also by user handle.
This has actually been my secret Google weapon for years. Often “online handle + first name” can often net you way more information about a person than just a simple first and last name search. More people catch on to this and so if you use the same user name for your online dating profile that you also used for your now six year old Live Journal account, don’t expect people not to take a peak at some of the more emo moments in your life and unfairly judge you.
Tip: Seriously, try to search yourself by any of your online handles and see what comes up.
The above being said, if you’re starting to really like someone and trust them, share your information away! I’ve found that it’s almost like giving someone the biggest surprise gift when you let them know “Hey, here’s the link to my [insert social media site here].” Suddenly, you’ve given them tons of information to pair up with your already charming self and to help shade in the bigger picture of who you are. Now the link to that “one picture in Vegas you posted where you were posing with a cigarette” has a story behind it and they know you don’t really smoke, but were just joking.
Happy love searching! <3