24 October 2012
7 rules for using social media when dating
by Fran Creffield
The majority of people now use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to conduct their social life. It is a brilliant tool for keeping in touch with people – especially those who are far away – but it is important to know the rules when it becomes part of your dating life.
There has been a huge rise in the amount of people using social media sites in the last few years with Facebook now estimated to have over one billion users from every age group and social class. The rise in popularity is due in large to the fact that it makes our relationships much easier – we can stay in touch, see each other’s photos and share the things that are of interest to us – not just with one person but with all our friends at the same time.
Inevitably this shift in how people conduct their social affairs also has an effect on our romantic life so it is worth knowing some rules of etiquette in this virtual world.
1. It is ok to do background checks on potential matches
It is commonplace to do a bit of background research to check that someone is who they say they are and it is so much easier now with the use of the internet. All you need to do is type their full name into Google, maybe with a few other details like their hometown or place of birth – and that clever search engine will reveal every mention they have ever had online whether it is a review they have written for Amazon or a blog they used to have 5 years ago.
There is no need to worry that you are doing something sneaky or underhand – in this day and age it is sensible and expected that you will check someone’s authenticity before you go on a date with them.
2. Tidy up your online history
Just as you can Google a potential match remember that they can Google you too so it is a good idea to do this yourself and find out what information is stored about you online. You may find lots of things that you were completely unaware of and some that you wouldn’t want a match to see because they don’t represent who you are today.
Do some tidying up and contact sites to remove information you are no longer happy about. Remember the search results may be the first impression a match gets of you so take responsibility for ensuring it is an impression you are happy for them to have.
3. Get to know someone face to face before adding them to your online community
It is not advisable to add someone as a friend or online contact before you have met them in person and decided you do want to see them again. In many ways inviting them to be part of your online community is a bit like inviting them to your home. A typical Facebook page will have photos of your loved ones; information about your interests and activities; personal views and opinions and maybe even your phone number or address if they are stored on there – do you really want strangers to have access to all of this information?
4. Be conscious of the impression you are giving through what you say online
More and more the news is carrying stories about people getting in trouble about things they have said on Twitter. Many of these opinions would previously have been expressed in a social setting with a small group of friends and no-one outside that group would have known anything about it. Only say online what you would be happy to shout through a megaphone to a huge crowd of people – that is effectively what you are doing. Be particularly careful of posting when you are angry, tired or have had a few beers.
5. Don’t cyber stalk people
When you are first seeing someone it is natural to want to be in touch with them all the time and social media makes this possible even if you are miles apart. Be careful of commenting on everything they do or following their every move – you might send them running the other way.
6. Don’t make your relationship a soap opera for all to see
Changing your relationship status from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’ should only be done when you are certain that the other person is in complete agreement. After that it is better to keep the ins and outs of what happens between you private and to be shared with friends on a one-to-one basis.
7. Make sure the majority of your contact is in person if possible
It is all too easy to spend hours connecting online but rarely meeting up in person. As far as possible keep the majority of your contact and communication in person or at least on the phone or Skype if it is long distance.