With how common it is to use online dating websites and apps it has also become very common for people to use the internet and social media to take a look at their potential dates. Whether it is to make sure that they are who they say they are or to ensure your own safety. Here are the dos and don’ts when it comes to using social media 

Why You Should Do Your Research

Whether you are using a popular app or a website to find your potential dates, using social media is a way for you to learn more about the person. Whether or not you are looking for red flags, or you are trying to figure out if you are being catfished or not. Research can and will ensure your safety. 

You’ll get an idea of who they are

When hiding behind a screen it can be pretty easy for you or another person to hide their true identity. Or at least it seems that it can be. While some people may require more digging than others, people tend to leave lots of clues for people to follow right in their usernames and messages. By following these clues you can actually learn a lot about people and get an idea of who they are. 

You can look at their profile and see if there are any red flags

People tend to be very comfortable behind a screen and while they may try to hide their true nature through messages they will very likely have posted their true thoughts on their public boards, timelines, and forums. Whether they are a chronic cheater, racist, misogynistic, or anything else that you would consider to be a red flag they will have likely posted about it. 

Meeting them will feel more comfortable

When you research people you learn more about them. You get an idea of what they like, what they dislike, and what their thoughts are. This ultimately leads to your meeting feeling a lot more comfortable and fun. 

What you should not do

You want to see if your potential date is a creep. At the same time, you need to be certain you aren’t engaging in creepy behavior yourself. Here are some things to avoid.

Post their pictures in groups.

There are many groups on Facebook and other forms of social media, all of which are created for different uses. For example, one of the most popular groups is a group called “Are we dating the same guy”. 

Nearly every major city in the States has a version of this group for their locals, and many credits it as a great way to expose cheaters and potential abusers. However, there are also many liars and trolls that exist in these types of groups. In the spirit of causing drama, some users could see your post asking about the guy you have been talking to and try to fill you with ideas that could be very much false. Wait until you have gone on a couple of dates and have actual reasoning to be nervous before you post pictures of them on those sites. 

Do Not Send Any Unsolicited Messages to Anyone on Their Friends List

While we understand wanting to get some information out of the people who know them in real life you are nowhere near the level that you need to be to be sending unsolicited messages to their friends and family. 

While you are wanting to ensure your own safety you are sending the potential message to them and his social circle that you are potentially unhinged and a stalker. Unless you have a very good reason to be messaging them do not message his friends. 

Do Not Overwhelm Yourself With the Data

There are people in the world who have literally grown up on the internet and have had Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, and more accounts since they were actual children. Social media makes it incredibly easy to see literal years’ worth of thoughts and posts from people. This can lead to a lot of potentially outdated data

What you should do

Stick Only To the Big 4 Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, and TikTok

These 4 are probably the 4 most popular and trending social media platforms which means that they will most likely be using these. Of course, we can’t guarantee that they use all of them. However, these 4 will most likely show the most recent evidence of their existence online.  

Do Not Go Further Back Than 2 Years

As people get older they mature, however, there are also people who have used the same Facebook account since they were 13 years old, even though they are now in their late 20s. When people are young they tend to lack intuition which can lead to them posting questionable or stupid content or statuses. Social media platforms make it incredibly easy for you to lose track as you scroll through content, therefore it is best to make sure that you don’t go back too far. Or else you could end up seeing a questionable post from their childhood and assume that it’s a current red flag. 

Cross Reference With a Search Engine

Unless they happen to share a name with a popular cartoon character or celebrity researching someone from a search engine should give you some results. These results can be cross-referenced with the results you have already gathered on social media to give you a more clear image of the person you are considering going out with.

Final Thought: Are You Willing to be Searched?

While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with researching a prospective date, the process can push some boundaries. While you look around the other person’s social media footprint, imagine yourself being analyzed in the same way. Then, extend the same kind of grace you’d want extending to you.