A lot of energy gets spent these days managing reputations online. From LinkedIn profiles to the contents of our tweets and status updates, nearly everyone operates under the assumption that what we share will be indexed available, creating at least a partial picture of who we are. And I think we’ve all had the experience of “Googling” someone we’ve just met.
Is this a good idea? With all of this information available online, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
1. It’s worth reiterating that what’s available online about a person is only a partial view (and may even be inaccurate). Disinformation is as easily saved as fact, and can be hard to correct.
2. Social media sites often paint heavily polarized pictures of a person’s beliefs or personality, and tend to reveal the carefully curated best or unintentional moments of their worst.
3. The truth of a person includes much more than information aggregated from Instagram pics and blog comments. What is essentially human is absent from the internet’s record.
If you’re in the habit of social media stalking people before you get to know them personally, be careful. A relationship can be tainted from the start by meeting someone with preconceived ideas gleaned this way. We should meet everyone with an open mind, and the context of our relationship with a person matters more than their hodgepodge of online data.
Regards,Sam Jia, M.Sc.
Helping People On The Move