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Except for the under a rock dwellers, most people have embraced the rules that govern the Googleverse as far as being aware of what a name search will reveal about who you are and what you’ve done. Job seekers strive to create a professional presence through various means and business owners jockey for search placement but many of us seem to be forgetting that people also do personal name searches. ______________________________________________________________________ Realistically, I know very few people who don’t Google a potential date these days. There are some who maintain that they want to get to know their date the old fashioned way and refuse to Google until a few dates are under the belt, but for reasons spanning the gamut from safety to curiosity, most people will Google you before they ever meet you. So, what does a name search reveal about you and your attitude towards dating?  ______________________________________________________________________ You may scoff and think… nothing! Well, think again. Twitter, Linked In, Instagram, Facebook, etc. are all beloved by that happy and busy Google search engine, so its time to take a minute and think about how you are not only coming across to a professional contact but also to a potential date. ______________________________________________________________________ We caught up with Alex Wise, a relationship coach and co-founder of  Loveawake dating site,  who offered up some of the basic rules of thumb for online image management so you can decide which ones will be the most efficient:  ______________________________________________________________________ Keep it positive. If you must be snarky, it may be wise to use a pseudonym. I follow some very funny and snarky daters on Twitter and various blogs… and they are all quite wise in not Tweeting or blogging under their own name. (Sometimes I envy their anonymity *grin*) But lets be real… they would never get another date again being that Snarktastic in real life. No one wants to think that their attempt at being a charming and witty dater is going to be lambasted the next day via Twitter or on a blog. ______________________________________________________________________ Be aware of your image. I know you don’t want to hear this, but judgement exists under many umbrellas. By taking a step back and examining what a Google search reveals about you, you can at least be aware that your potential date is going to know you are an avid bird watcher with a penchant for being an obnoxious online Scrabble smack talker and can address your aggressive avian side before letting it become a deal-breaker.  ______________________________________________________________________ Treat what you write for public consumption like you would a resume (since it kind of is these days.) Watch spelling, attitude and consistency. If you drink and tweet after a really bad date or hook up… you’re really going to be regretting it when a future date brings it up in conversation or simply never calls you again after getting your full name for the first time. ______________________________________________________________________ Do yourself a favor and think twice before you hit that send/post button. You never know when something you meant for private consumption will go public because you thought you were sending a Twitter DM or assumed that your friend had the same privacy settings you do on Facebook. ______________________________________________________________________ Unless you are a consummate and skilled black belt in the world of lies and half truths, do NOT attempt to live a double life while using social networking. You will get caught. A few years ago, I ran into a guy on Myspace who got himself so entangled in his lies that he faked his own death online to get out of it all. He had four girls thinking he was in love with them and on the way to marriage when his wife found out and started cyber stalking and contacting her hubby’s harem. A few days later, all four ladies received a letter sadly announcing that he had died in a tragic car accident leaving a “beloved pregnant wife” to mourn his passing. It would have stopped there, but he couldn’t seem to resist the lure of online affairs and I soon saw him at work again a few months later. ______________________________________________________________________ If you’ve gone through an unfortunate series of public events… nasty divorce, legal issues, bankruptcy, ill considered blog topics, work scandals… or perhaps someone with those issues shares your name… don’t be an ostrich and stick your head in the sand. Bring it up yourself before revealing your full stats to a potential date and work some positive spin into the situation. If you’ve paid someone to clean up your online image, don’t assume they did a gangbuster job. I surprised a date a few years back by knowing about his past legal troubles and asking him about it on the date. (He thought his online image had been cleaned up.) ______________________________________________________________________ If you are online dating… remember that you are not as anonymous as you may imagine. Pictures are no longer on the grainy and unrecognizable side. That girl you are flirting with on Match may forward your profile to her friend to see what she thinks and you’re going to be REALLY bummed if she happens to be friends with your girlfriend. My suggestion… see the above comment on living a double life.  ______________________________________________________________________ If you are on a photo sharing service, be careful before posting pictures of you doing things you wouldn’t want a future boy/girlfriend to see/think about. As much as they know you probably kissy-faced with your ex, they really aren’t going to enjoy running across those old kissy-face pictures especially if you are posting new kissy-face pictures with them that look exactly the same. Clean up the stream a bit (and stop posting kissy-face pictures!) ______________________________________________________________________ Don’t “forget” about unused or old accounts. That old Friendster profile will still come up in an online search. My advice? Close out or clear out the information on old accounts so you don’t have to keep track of it. (ie. when you are no longer “single” and that old account proudly proclaims that you are and are available for “whatever you can get.”)  ______________________________________________________________________ By knowing and understanding that our lives are more transparent in these days of online accessibility, we can make decisions accordingly and with a little wisdom, manage the amount of information in the public stream. Unless you like chaos and damage control situations… in which case, post away and blithely ignore the above-mentioned rules of thumb but please don’t mind if we Tweet about your crash and burn in the process *grin*.

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