Despite how many photos I post on Facebook or how many times I may like the status updates of my friends, I actually don’t spend a lot of time on the social networking site.
In fact, if I didn’t have to keep it up for work-related purposes, I’d probably deactivate my account and spend more time watching “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
As a writer, though, I’ve found Facebook and other social networking sites to be very helpful tools. I can connect with readers and editors, I can promote blog posts, and I can meet people interested in the same things I am (namely food, travel and small dogs).
And — let’s be honest here — I can, ahem, do research, too.
Oh, we’ve all done it. We’ve looked up old flames, searched for past crushes, voyeur-ed through the photo albums of crazy ex-coworkers.
And among my single friends, Facebook has become the go-to way to learn more about a potential mate. Call it “pre-dating.”
According to a survey of singles by Match.com, 48 percent of women research a guy on Facebook before the first date. Some women say it saves time; others admit they’re just curious. Whatever the reason, though, Facebook-stalking can backfire — and bad.
Experts have said trolling online for intel may kill the romance, may influence you too early and inaccurately, and may cause you to be too judgmental.
And, at least in my experience, you might learn too much.
Like my single girlfriend who Facebook-stalked a guy she was starting to see — and found photos of handwritten cards he had given his ex-girlfriend that were so sweet and thoughtful, she felt enough of a twinge of jealousy that she never returned his phone calls. The relationship was over before it even started.
Sometimes knowing too much — or finding out about things too soon — isn’t helpful in starting relationships. I’d rather not know about the anniversary dinners he spent with an ex-girlfriend or the snowboarding trips he went on with another woman he dated. It’s too much information — and photos are just too tangible to forget.
I can see the temptation in voyeur-ing into people’s lives, especially those you’re keenly interested in on an emotional level. But I can’t see any good coming out of knowing what someone you’re starting to date did three months ago or how he spent Christmas in 2009.
I’d rather he tell me about his previous relationships than have to see it spread out all over Facebook.
It’s not that the less you know, the better. I think it’s the less you see, the better.