Skip

What are your Google dealbreakers?
August 16, 2011 9:44 PM   Subscribe

What warning signs do you look for when you Google a potential date? Things were going well with a girl, and after she Googled me it seemed like things changed. I was wondering if there was any way to spot obvious red flags and either minimize or hide them. If there is a way that I could link to a search for my name on this page without it showing up in Google I'll add that to it. I can tell you that a search leads to my Twitter feed, a bunch of music reviews, old blogs, and some scattered message board comments. Any advice would be appreciated.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn to Human Relations (44 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Post this question anonymously? Serious advice.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:48 PM on August 16, 2011 [10 favorites]


If there is a way that I could link to a search for my name on this page without it showing up in Google

Screengrab.
posted by pompomtom at 9:50 PM on August 16, 2011


It might not be warning signs. It might just be that your online presence gives much more info about your interests than she had picked up otherwise, and she realised you didn't have much in common.
posted by lollusc at 9:54 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Did she say specifically that the google search changed her mind? It's possible she just didn't...like...you. I'm not trying to be mean or anything, but I would have to find out something pretty big (sex offender, is married, thinks lolcats are funny, etc) for me to back out of a date based solely on a google search.
posted by phunniemee at 9:55 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would certainly be interested to know specifically how you know that she Googled you at the specific time that her behavior changed.

And perhaps for the red flags, you shouldn't be worried about that; what you should be thinking is "do the Google results show things about me that are honestly and truly representative of me?" and if so, don't worry about 'em -- I mean, if you're really that person, then they'll learn about you sooner or later, right?
posted by davejay at 9:55 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did she say specifically that the google search changed her mind? It's possible she just didn't...like...you. I'm not trying to be mean or anything, but I would have to find out something pretty big (sex offender, is married, thinks lolcats are funny, etc) for me to back out of a date based solely on a google search.

Given my usual social ineptness, and I'm probably wrong. Basically, we knew there was physical attraction after we met up at a party. A week later we met up for drinks, and she was obviously into me and joked about Googling me, since that's what you do when you meet a guy. Texted me to say she Googled me. We had plans on Friday, and she invited along her housemate and then a guy friend and was suddenly just not affectionate. She pretty much disappeared after that.

I'm a pretty strange guy, so I can understand that... but it did seem like the Googling had something to do with it. And I do say lots of stupid shit on the Internet. (I checked, and it doesn't bring up MeFi).
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:03 PM on August 16, 2011


I recently saw this piece on Gizmodo about hiding your online identity... Here.

I was very interested to see what came up (or didn't) on Spokeo.com when I typed in someone's (or my own) email address instead of their name - fucking everything you've done online if you are dumb enough to not have multiple email addresses for sign-ups (I use multiples with fake names to manage spam.) Like, the stuff that gets searched and regurgitated is unbelievable.

Anyway. Check out that How To Guide on Gizmodo.

----

I don't know what this girl saw about you, but there are resources out there that track a lot. If you have nothing to be ashamed of particularly then I would not worry - this isn't someone you wanted to date, anyway.
posted by jbenben at 10:05 PM on August 16, 2011 [16 favorites]


Anyone who shoots me down from a casual Google search isn't someone I'd want to date.
posted by Sphinx at 10:08 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


My particular red flags would be poorly spelled ragegibberish comments left all over the place or homemade Morris dancing porn.

Her red flags? No one on here can answer that.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 10:11 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Texted me to say she Googled me. We had plans on Friday, and she invited along her housemate and then a guy friend and was suddenly just not affectionate. She pretty much disappeared after that.

If there was something that turned her off from google, she would not have txted you to say "I googled you". She just would have kept quiet until she wanted to break up.

Seems like it could be another case of something that she perceives as important and you don't think of as important. Something that happened after the google, and before she invited her housefriends. What was it?
posted by hal_c_on at 10:11 PM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


If there is a way that I could link to a search for my name on this page without it showing up in Google I'll add that to it.

LiB, you currently list your first name in your profile details; your surname is part of your email address, also included in your profile.

You are already totally identifiable. No need to create a Google result.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:21 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Just so you're aware, it's trivially simple for someone with your name to connect you to your metafilter profile (and many of your other profiles beyond your facebook, google, etc.). I hope that's ok; you seem to be a pretty public guy, so I'd assume so, but just FYI.
posted by lesli212 at 10:22 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just so you're aware, it's trivially simple for someone with your name to connect you to your metafilter profile (and many of your other profiles beyond your facebook, google, etc.). I hope that's ok; you seem to be a pretty public guy, so I'd assume so, but just FYI.

That's the problem. I was pretty okay with just saying stupid shit on the Internet, but I'm starting to realize that maybe it's not a good idea to have bizarre anti-animal rights posts, and detailed descriptions of my own awkwardness floating around the Internet (especially since I sometimes do the online dating thing). Not really sure how to get rid of it, though I guess I could hide my old blogs. Won't work for FB or Twitter though.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:25 PM on August 16, 2011


Caveat - I have googled you; there's no red flags there that I can see, unless you don't like poetry or music.

But, if you are concerned about the information about you online, I recommend the following basic steps:

On FB and Twitter, don't use your real name. You want to silo your online information - make it difficult to connect the various sources.

One strategy on FB is to insert a fake middle name or use a pseudonym - that will make it harder for people googling you casually to find your FB profile. Of course, you should be locking down your privacy settings so only friends can see your details and content. Don't have an embarrassing profile picture - that will still be public. For extra security, don't have a picture that actually identifies you as your profile pic.

Your Twitter account is only identifiable if you link your handle to your name online - sadly, you've done that quite a bit. But otherwise, you're not identifiable from your profile pic or handle. You might want to consider keeping your Twitter handle exclusive to Twitter. Using the same handle in multiple forums creates further links.

Don't use a pseudonym or handle and then use your email address that contains your real name. That is an exercise in pointlessness. Have a secondary email address that doesn't identify you, and use that in public online spaces - you can forward it to your primary address if you want.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:39 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


One strategy on FB is to insert a fake middle name or use a pseudonym - that will make it harder for people googling you casually to find your FB profile. Of course, you should be locking down your privacy settings so only friends can see your details and content. Don't have an embarrassing profile picture - that will still be public. For extra security, don't have a picture that actually identifies you as your profile pic.


Facebook is the first thing somebody will find out about me, and if somebody doesn't want me to see their Facebook that's the biggest red flag I can imagine. Otherwise, thanks... it might be worth locking some of this stuff down.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:49 PM on August 16, 2011


His thoughts were red thoughts advice is spot on.

Not really sure how to get rid of it, though I guess I could hide my old blogs.

If these are websites you control, edit your robots.txt to block the internet archive (web.archive.org). Make troublesome posts private. Have cached posts removed from the archive.

If you have questionable tweets, lock your twitter account and approve friends from now on.

Google yourself from another browser (where all history and cookies have been cleared). Look closely at what appears on the first few pages (people don't usually look past that).

Remove your real name and email address that is made up of your name from online profiles (it took 3 seconds for me to find your first/last name from your email).

For why she lost interest, it could be a number of reasons. It may not be a one-size-fits-all red flag but she might have been turned off by something specific. Or she met someone else. Or some other life event happened. Or something else came up. We can't answer that.
posted by babbyʼ); Drop table users; -- at 10:49 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's the problem. I was pretty okay with just saying stupid shit on the Internet, but I'm starting to realize that maybe it's not a good idea to have bizarre anti-animal rights posts, and detailed descriptions of my own awkwardness floating around the Internet (especially since I sometimes do the online dating thing).

Dude, you have just got to let your freak flag fly. You want somebody who is all up for a freaky freak like you :) I made this decision a few years back and am proud to have my wacky shit right up top on page one when you Google me. Accept it as an honest expression of who you are.

-Thomas Edward Topham
posted by Meatbomb at 11:35 PM on August 16, 2011 [22 favorites]


The other thing about googling someone is that you can find stuff that is about another L. Brooklyn and never know it isn't about you. She could have found things she thought were about you that were written by someone with a similar name. Or, maybe she met another guy on Thursday and threw the smackdown on your relationship as a result of that. Life can be messy like that.
But I'm with those who say that if she cooled as a result of a google search, you can do better.

Incidentally, have you tried just asking her? "Hey, I really enjoyed our date on [whenever], but it seemed like you weren't feeling it on Friday, is anything wrong?"
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:39 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dude, you have just got to let your freak flag fly. You want somebody who is all up for a freaky freak like you :) I made this decision a few years back and am proud to have my wacky shit right up top on page one when you Google me. Accept it as an honest expression of who you are.

Despite my previous advice, I'm inclined to agree with Meatbomb.

I keep my online personal information locked down and to a minimum for professional reasons; I don't want people googling me and grading me on my personal life in job interviews.

But if you don't have that problem, and aren't worried about it, then let it all rip! You want someone that likes you for you, not the false impression that your carefully sculpted online profile delivers.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:47 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've noticed from time to time in passing a slight tendency on your part to put down Australia and its inhabitants. Could it be that some of that attitude shows through in your googlable online presence? Because that mightn't always go down well with a girl who is presumably Australian.

Other than that, perhaps just put it down to a Taquito Moment - really, one of the most useful concepts to keep in your head when dating.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:51 PM on August 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


Honestly, the timing you describe in your follow up comment could have just as easily meant she had enough time to reconsider you, talk things over with her friend/roommate/whatever and decide that she wasn't that into you after all, and then changed your plans from a date to a friends thing by inviting other people along.

The googling could have happened, but without her actually saying "wow I googled you... so you're into furries? Huh" I wouldn't assume anything, necessarily. She may have seemed obviously into you when you had drinks, but there are tons of reasons a girl might cool things off after one date, and only some have anything to do with you and what might come up when she googles your name.
posted by MadamM at 12:07 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know what the rest of your online presence is so I'll assume it's sparkling and charismatic. BUT, to back up UbuRoivas, and speaking as an Australian female, if she can link your name and your mefi identity, let's just say that some of your comments re Australia/ns don't portray you in the most flattering light. You appear to take great pleasure in antagonising us Aussies! If I'm misinterpreting your previous comments I apologise, but consider this: if she reads them, she may take them the same way.
posted by Jubey at 12:15 AM on August 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


There's also the opposite coin of the advice to hide it all... control what they see by adding to the noise. You can always work to fill up the first few Google pages with stuff about you that you want people to find - flickr pages, discussion groups, mailing lists, a real-name.com website and neutral blog. It requires work, of course, and it's only good for casual sleuthing. But if you have negative stuff online in many places then taking a method towards drowning it out might be best.

(I'm also of the opinion that you should wear your weirdness on your sleeve, and if someone finds that Pokemon erotica you wrote five years ago while high then you should just proudly defend it because it ain't going away, ever. At least, that's been my experience.)
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 12:24 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The googling could have happened, but without her actually saying "wow I googled you... so you're into furries? Huh"

LiB, regardless of what else you decide to do, I think it would be best if you refuted this here in-thread. Someone in a hurry could get the wrong (?) idea about you. Serious suggestion.

On topic, I do what many here have advised: keep separate identities on separate sites and not link them online. I am on FB with my real name (with strict privacy settings and friend list controls), on twitter under a pseudonym, and here under a totally different pseudonym. I don't think there is anyone who knows me on all three. Oh, and on G+ with my real name and strict controls as well.
posted by vidur at 12:53 AM on August 17, 2011


The googling could have happened, but without her actually saying "wow I googled you... so you're into furries? Huh"

LiB, regardless of what else you decide to do, I think it would be best if you refuted this here in-thread. Someone in a hurry could get the wrong (?) idea about you. Serious suggestion.


Um... okay. No, I am not into furries, nor am I into non-anthropomorphic animals, stuffed animals, or any animals at all. In fact, my vehement and oft-expressed dislike of animals is probably almost as embarrassing as being a furry. Which, again, I am not.


On topic, I do what many here have advised: keep separate identities on separate sites and not link them online. I am on FB with my real name (with strict privacy settings and friend list controls), on twitter under a pseudonym, and here under a totally different pseudonym. I don't think there is anyone who knows me on all three. Oh, and on G+ with my real name and strict controls as well.


The problem is that this makes it impossible to promote blog posts and Tweets on FB? I have tried to minimized those links to my MeFi account. Otherwise I tend to have one big identity.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:59 AM on August 17, 2011


Look, either you can be public, or private. There are intermediate steps, but you sacrifice your privacy to achieve interconnectedness and easy public expression, and vice versa. It is essentially a zero sum game.

If you don't want people to judge you on what you say online, but don't want to take any steps to restrict public access to your personal information, obscure your identity, or impede data linkage, then don't say anything that you don't want to admit to or be judged on. Because what you put on the internet is basically available forever.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:20 AM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Another Australian here chiming in to say what a few others have done - the only thing that comes to mind off the top of my head is your occasional bagging of our fair land. Now, I know you're mostly winding us up, but it doesn't come across well. (I live in another country and there are things here that p*ss me off, but you have to be careful as many people can't help taking it personally.)

That said, who knows if that was the reason? It could have been anything, most likely unrelated to her Google search. And on preview, I agree with taff. I reckon you're all right.
posted by rubbish bin night at 1:37 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


The only kinds of red flags I'd look for would be huge, obvious ones like: lying about ones' identity, evidence of stalking an ex, illegal activity, participation in a cult, racism, homophobia or serious disrespect towards women. There's basically nothing else that I could read that would suddenly make me go lukewarm on someone I was really attracted to.

I think you're just a casualty of dating--maybe she met someone she liked better, or maybe she's just flirty and you misunderstood, or maybe her ex called and she realized she wasn't over him--who knows? It sucks, and I sympathize. I have had people disappear on me after really romantic, adventure under the stars, making out in public places kinds of dates.

You shouldn't hide who you are to get into a relationship, so I assume you want to hide the person you were. You can adjust all your privacy settings and anonymize your name in as many places as possible, but someone really persistent could probably still find these things out. You might as well own the situation and start a new blog/write articles that reflect who you are now. That way anyone who googles you will see the kind of person you are now before they move on to reading the old stuff. And if they hold who you used to be against you, they weren't relationship material anyway.
posted by millions of peaches at 1:52 AM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


bizarre anti-animal rights posts... vehement and oft-expressed dislike of animals

this would be a big deal breaker for a lot of people I know, myself included. sorry, but that can be a touchy subject.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:11 AM on August 17, 2011 [14 favorites]


In fact, my vehement and oft-expressed dislike of animals

Yep, massive dealbreaker for me, too. I would definitely go off someone I had previously been into if I found this when googling him. But that's ok, you won't have to waste anymore time in finding out you and this woman are incompatible.
posted by hazyjane at 3:59 AM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dislike of animals is a pretty good possibility; it would be a dealbreaker for me. But as hazyjane says, maybe this is a feature, not a bug? You shouldn't end up with someone who can't live without a pet.

Also, when people get vehement/hyperbolic about anyone-who-XYZ is something-ragey, and I'm one of those who XYZ, I get turned totally off. duh.

Sometimes people do that on MeFi as a way of showing off and they aren't really all that frothingly rabid, but I wouldn't want to see them. Rage guy is a dealbreaker generally. Sexist, racist, homophobic, definitely dealbreakers. Whiney, entitled, jejune would all break a deal. A few dumb comments wouldn't, but a pattern would.

I tend to agree with hal_c_on, though: texting to say she'd googled you sounds flirty and sweet, so it seems the game was still afoot at that point. So maybe something else happened between the text and date, though I suppose she could have googled a lot more and found something she didn't like.
posted by taz at 6:17 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


In fact, my vehement and oft-expressed dislike of animals

This is a likely culprit, like others have said. It would certainly have caused me to go from "oh, this guy is pretty cool" to "this guy is a douche" in the time it took me to google you. But like taz said, this is a feature and not a bug. Leave your stuff out there so it continues to weed out people who would be poor matches for you.
posted by crankylex at 6:32 AM on August 17, 2011


My "Google dealbreaker" is people who don't appear on Google.

As in, no detectable internet presence. It can mean a few things- most commonly technophobia, but also something-to-hide, or Facebook-only internet use, or whatever.

Doesn't seem to be your problem. FWIW, I have been dumped over things I have said here.
posted by fake at 6:44 AM on August 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
posted by nickrussell at 6:51 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree with Meatbomb, partly because he's just right in what he says, but also because I think it's ultimately a fool's errand to try to figure out what is going to set someone else off and edit that out of your online trail of breadcrumbs. Some people here have suggested a couple of possibilities (seriously, dude…you're a furry?), but it could be something that seems innocuous to everyone except the chick in question.

Your only option at that point is to try to eliminate your online persona entirely, or try to edit it down to something utterly anodyne, which as fake points out, is suspicious as well.
posted by adamrice at 8:39 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


If it's a dealbreaker they'd find via google, then it's a dealbreaker they'd find eventually by being with you. Either way, that deal is gonna break. So don't look at this as a bad thing; look at it as saving you (and them) time.

(Unless, as sometimes happens, your online persona is completely different from your real-life persona -- in which case consider why that would be the case and maybe think about changing one of those, whichever one you like more, to match the other.)
posted by ook at 9:19 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meatbomb is a font of great wisdom. Drink deeply.
posted by banshee at 9:27 AM on August 17, 2011


maybe think about changing one of those, whichever one you like more, to match the other

er... I fucked that up, obviously. You know what I mean.
posted by ook at 9:58 AM on August 17, 2011


It may have gone something like this:

1. She Googled you and texted you to tell you that
2. She invites housemate and guy friend to Friday night gathering
3. Housemate (female?) and/or guy friend Googles you
4. Housemate and/or guy friend are put off by anti-animal/anti-Australian sentiments
5. Girl either hadn't googled enough to find these things, or didn't care, but housemate/guy friend talks her out of going out with you
6. Fin
posted by desjardins at 11:33 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meatbomb is a font of great wisdom. Drink deeply.

Welllll, I have to say I disagree a teeny bit with the drink deeply part. If you are a fully adult person who has already made a lot of choices that put you squarely outside of mainstream contemporary culture, and that's exactly where you want to stay come hell or high water and damn the torpedoes, or you're of unassailable independent means, then, yes, sure. Carry on with your bad self and spurt your distinct personality all over the internet.

But if things are not so black and white, or you aren't so financially lucky, you might at some point find yourself surprised to be in distinct need of money/rent/food and kind of super-needing to work for fairly conservative companies or organizations that you hope won't be Googling you too hard.

I don't want to be a big buzzkill, but this happens. I can absolutely tell you this happens. Even sometimes when you think that all that is behind you, or you won't ever be there because of your big talent, or your unassailable resistance to the status quo, or your alternagroove identity is too persistent, or whatever... you can still find yourself there.

So, for romance, I don't think it's a big deal; the person is going to know who you are if they hang around anyway. But there's more to consider than canoodling.
posted by taz at 12:11 PM on August 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


My "Google dealbreaker" is people who don't appear on Google.

Agreed. Managing your online identity has been coming up a lot here on the green, and is really just part of modern life (and a very easy part, at that).

Start a blog or personal website, use Twitter (WITH your real name), don't post your most embarrassing moments to Facebook (or keep it locked down), and you'll be fine.

I don't entirely trust people I can't google.
posted by coolguymichael at 2:49 PM on August 17, 2011


My "Google dealbreaker" is people who don't appear on Google.

Agreed. Managing your online identity has been coming up a lot here on the green, and is really just part of modern life (and a very easy part, at that).

I don't entirely trust people I can't google.


Go read up on the digital divide; discrimination isn't really a cool thing, whether it be in dating or hiring...
posted by vivid postcard at 10:09 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


That came out snippy, but for reals: unfairly discriminating against people who aren't online is as bad as unfairly discriminating against people as a result of their internet presence.

There are tons of reasons why people don't fall into a particularly middle-class construction of "normal" technological access..
posted by vivid postcard at 10:13 PM on August 17, 2011


I did this before she Googled me, but on the off chance somebody else is looking for advice OkCupid lets you fake-delete your profile. It works really well, and it'll look like you were never on the site. Once you're single again you can undelete it and everything will be the same.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:25 PM on August 17, 2011


« Older Is it offensive / tactless / r...   |  Help me locate the source of t... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.


Post