Screening potential dates using social media

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Dahlia Kurtz, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:25 PM ET

Nothing like the excitement of those pre-first date jitters: Choosing your attire, primping your hair and stalking your date online?

Yes, singletons have become private e-vestigators, tracking the digital footprints of their potential companions.

Whether or not you're part of the growing number of people who meet their partners online, it's likely you get to know your partner online before you meet. Match.com's annual LoveGeist report revealed almost two-thirds of singles research dates on the Net before they meet.

"I do it absolutely every single time. Facebook, Twitter and definitely a Google search. It helps crush my hopes way before they do," says Bella Alves, who recently found 500 pictures of a potential suitor on Facebook, sporting a duck face in pretty much each one. Needless to say, he was a quack.

Melissa Hudson employs a different tactic: "I search through their social media, see what they're up to and coincidentally show up wherever they plan to be that night."

Some may call her a stalker, others may call her so 2012, because now apps do the stalking for you.

For instance, the app Tinder scours your location to find you matches based upon your Facebook profile. You remain anonymous, until both parties click "Like" so you can connect.

Of course, there are other ways to research: Does she have a good Klout score? How many retweets does he have? What's in her Soundcloud stream? Does he like YouTube videos of cats or dogs? Any important Linkedin connections? Is he the mayor of anything on Foursquare? Should you do a credit check? A criminal background check? Or perhaps a mental check - I mean one for you.

Catfishing is faking an identity online to trick someone into a relationship. But how much are you faking when you start hashing out someone's life online? And watch that you don't let them see that offline, "So, your dad's a lawyer."

We see into the lives of celebrities all the time; it doesn't mean we know what they're like. And with social media everyone can display their lives somewhat like a celebrity. So the next time you need to get ready for a date, maybe you could save some of your queries for your dinner conversation, because you can't always judge a Facebook by its cover.

Often online profiles are used to build up our walls - or brands, as it were. By creeping these facades you don't get to know people, you get to know how people want to be known. It's often in real life where these walls are more likely to crumble.

Had I cyberstalked my husband I never would've learned he's the kind of guy who would give me foot massages almost every night, or he'd tolerate watching TV shows he hates so we could watch together. And nothing could've warned me about his "toilet paper must only roll out this way" neuroticism.


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