January 26, 2011
I've been thinking a lot about my use of technology, and its implications for the type of person I'm becoming, how I use my time, and whether or not the internet in particular is helping me to strengthen or weaken my relationships (certainly "the internet" and "technology" are nouns with many uses and purposes, and those could be parceled out and examined individually).
However, one thing that I do not really like is having an "online presence" or "virtual personality." What I mean by this is that if someone were to search for me in Google, various links would come up, mostly linking me to organizations and institutions that I am or have been affiliated with as well as news sources that have quoted me.
This has really only bothered me once before, when I found out on a third date that before a guy had initially asked me out, he had "Googled" me and saw that I was associated with an organization that he did not really care for (and come to find out, significantly misunderstood its mission). Before asking me out, he said he seriously weighed whether or not to pursue something, even though he thought I was attractive and we had shared several dynamic conversations in person. When he said that, I felt reduced to some sort of online attribute that he would have eventually come to understand about me more in depth and more organically should it have come up in conversation. We only went on a few more dates, partly because our morals did not line up after all, but also partly because I felt prematurely assessed based on my "virtual" encounter with him instead of my real encounters with him in person. It was almost as if he missed experiencing me, and instead "experienced" the virtual me.
This is just now crossing my mind again because I am supposed to be going out on a blind date in the next week or so after being "virtually" introduced by a colleague. I don't mind blind dates any more than dates after having talked to someone in person. But I can't help but wonder if he will "Google" me before meeting me in person, and what effect that will have on his opinion of our date and of me.
I choose not to Google him, and to see what happens. Let's just say, "I'm Feeling Lucky."