Home Dating apps Should you “crawl” on social media from a potential date? Experts say it can be informative, but take it with a grain of salt

Should you “crawl” on social media from a potential date? Experts say it can be informative, but take it with a grain of salt


We’re just a google search to find out almost anything and everything about a potential date, from the timeline of their last relationship, to whether they’re single, have kids, what they do. in life, whether they had transgressions with the law, the list goes on.

Playfully referred to as ‘pushing back someone’s social media,’ it’s a deep dive into their various social media accounts, then a close scrutiny of the accounts of those who have commented on their posts, them. have tagged or are tagged. This background check / creep has become sort of a norm, but should it be? Or does it lead us to have preconceptions and superficial expectations?

Blake Carter, 36, who co-hosts the morning show on FLOW 93.5 in Toronto, has been single since the start of the summer. After seeing her ex post updates on social media about the dates after their split, she decided it was time to move on and start dating again. “There’s only one time you can stay home and cry over the breakup,” Carter said. “When you’re going through a breakup you never know if you’re going to get by, so you don’t want to take the plunge, but once I find out he has, it’s gone. “

Thanks to his career, his DMs (direct messages) are like a dating app in themselves. “I don’t know if this is the best decision I’ve made to entertain the DMs I get,” Carter said. But since she’s not on any dating app, it opens the door for her to meet a like-minded partner, especially since it’s usually hip-hop-loving friends who listen to her on air, music artists or people in the same industry, who tend to reach out.

After getting a DM she says she will obviously go search their account and their social networks. “I don’t want to date someone and find out they’re super racist in their tweets,” Carter said. Being in the public eye, it is important for her to know who she can be seen with in public. She is diligent in her preliminary research and admits that as long as she has a lover’s name, she can find out anything.

If they pass her check, she will send a DM with them to see if there is a connection and if so, arrange a meeting. “I’ve had enough of it; I’d rather know about red flags before I go out with you, ”Carter said.

When she meets guys in real life, she looks at them the same way.

“I give my Instagram before I give my phone number; it’s usually the first thing people do now, ”Carter said. It has paid off. “Guys are going to flirt with you and invite you out, but have a full marriage,” Carter said, referring to a recent time when she met a bunch of guys on a stag and one of them was very flirty with it. She took his name, did a quick online search and saw via Facebook that he was married. “Some guys are good at hiding stuff, but a lot of them aren’t,” Carter said.

While it can be insightful and provide a sense of security to investigate someone before having a first date with them or getting to know them better, it can also cloud your opinion of them and lead to inaccurate judgments.

“There is no research that unequivocally shows that searching for social media posts of a future date will work better,” says social psychologist Serge Desmarais, a professor at the University of Guelph.

He notes that before Facebook, successful relationships started and flourished without access to this information. Now that the information is available, he says there is a general belief that one is an idiot if they don’t “crawl” a person before a date. “It’s like we assume everyone is a mass murderer,” Desmarais said.

He understands curiosity and must have a basic knowledge of who you are going to date, but wants people to notice that the material you see online is not accurate. “Research on self-presentation suggests that people present themselves in the most positive way possible,” Desmarais said.

Think about how people take 100 selfies before posting one that’s just perfect. He says we do the same when it comes to the information we present online: Our social media posts indicate that we are amazing people doing amazing things. Few people say their life is boring, monotonous, and uninteresting, so he says we should evaluate the information we see online in the context in which it is presented: as a most positive representation of who we are (or who we want others to think we are). “We do the same thing when we meet people in person, but we do it a lot more when we use social media,” Desmarais said.

And just because you have access to someone’s social media, Desmarais says that doesn’t mean it will provide any security or certainty. It reminds us that relationships develop over time and that knowing a person takes time. It’s a give and take process, he says. You reveal a little about yourself, and so do they. Over time, you get a better idea of ​​the other person. “Using social media will not provide that level of knowledge. Relationships require a leap of faith, ”Desmarais said. “People who want absolute certainty at the start of a new relationship should consider remaining single.

Relationship expert Wendy Walsh, who has nearly a million followers on TikTok where she offers dating advice, says despite posting online, people should always research a potential date before dating anyway.

“We all know social media is about people who introduce the person they to wish they were, but every meeting begins with an Oscar-winning performance, ”Walsh said. “Then slowly you can peel off the layers and see the authentic human.” If you see something clearly bad on their social media, she suggests not going ahead with the date and buying some time.

If the way they present themselves online doesn’t match the type of person you tend to like, or if what they say goes against your values ​​and beliefs, consider that you may not. “not much in common,” Desmarais said. “Of course, people can change over time, but having very strong differences of opinion on values ​​won’t lead to a positive relationship,” Desmarais said. “Go ahead and find someone whose values ​​and interests match yours. “

Jen Kirsch is a Toronto-based writer and a freelance contributor to The Star. Follow her on Twitter: @jen_kirsch