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Getting to Know Someone: Is Online Snooping Fair??

I can’t help it. Every guy I meet, I look him up online to see what morsels of information I can find about him, good, bad, and ugly. Sometimes, those Google (and Lexis Nexus thanks to my reporter days) searches, would leave me pleasantly surprised to find local newspaper articles about awards for community service or mentoring; would scare me half to death– divorce records, domestic violence, DWI’s, warrants for unpaid parking tickets or theft charges; or downright leave me incredulous– i.e. finding engagement websites. When it comes to crime, I give people passes depending on the severity of the crime, how much time has passed and how old they were when said event happened.

In this digital age, you can find out more than you really want to know and it can be a real let down if a guy you’ve been seeing and enjoying his company has some very real skeletons falling out of your Google search. And I understand there are two camps: The first believes if it’s in the public domain, you have every right to find out what you can so you know what you’re dealing with. The second says, get to know the person and let them tell you about themselves.

I tend to have a foot in both places. I’ll admit sometimes I’m honest about my Googling, but I’ll playfully say that I have an online presence too, with nothing to hide. And I don’t. You’ll find mostly things regarding my career and that’s certainly something to be proud of.

But sometimes, I won’t admit that I’ve done a deep dig into a person’s available digital life, because I’m curious to see how up front they will be about the things that aren’t so pleasant. I think it’s a two-way street and when someone is honest about something I had already seen, I usually come clean and say that I looked it up, but wanted to give the person a chance to explain their situation and with context.

So, am I wrong for digital snooping or as I prefer, amateur background checks?

I think in today’s time, women need to arm themselves with information but be strategic on how and when and why they’ll reveal they have that information.

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