A new man contacted me who held some allure so I promptly did a Google search, armed only with his profile’s unusual alias and his city. A wealth of information was divulged.
I read the posting he’d made in public forums so could see his comments were thoughtful, articulate, and had correct spelling and punctuation. I agreed with many of his views. Most of us aren’t particularly guarded when we post something to a forum, especially if using an alias. So the fact that he didn’t curse or call other postors idiots — as others in the forums did — showed me he had a sense of appropriateness and decorum.
But the most telling information came from his Flickr account. Dozens of photos were on public view. I could tell from what profession he was retired as there were pics of him at work, his hobbies, and photos of him growing up. Thanks to the captions, I saw pictures of his friends, mother, work mates, kids, and past girlfriends! I even learned his last name, which prompted another Google search.
Putting the pictures, captions and forum postings together gave me some tenor of the man. Posing with his arm around his mother and kids sent the impression he was close to them. His comments about his coworkers were positive. The candid shots showed him laughing and having a good time. And his captions describing his past girlfriends divulged the kind of woman he was drawn to. (I checked the dates the last girlfriend pics were taken and they were a year old!)
Can you learn everything you need about a person from such sleuthing? Of course not. But such snooping — even if it is in public sties — can show inklings that might have taken longer to experience in person. I will meld this information with his articulate emails with his just-begun brief phone calls and see if I want to get to know this man further. After all, I’ve done a lot of research on him!