We were listening to the Bobby Bones show (it’s Sara’s new favorite morning radio show) on the way to work, when they ran a promo asking people to call in if they ever had or would use a fake name on a date to “protect yourself because it’s so easy for people to find you on Facebook.
Clearly the notion here is that the more nefarious characters in this world may have an easier time tracking you down and stalking you because you’ve put your information on the internet, therefore you should change your social behavior and in the name of protecting yourself should lie your ass off in real life.
I never got to hear if anybody actually called in as it’s a relatively short drive to work, however it did get me thinking and one of the first things I said to Sara was –
“So let me get this straight, the idea here is that because you’re too stupid to change one behavior, you have to change your other social behaviors? Seriously, if I went on two dates with someone and then found out they were using a fake name, I’d be more inclined to think they THEY are the psycho!”
What social behavior am I talking about changing? It’s the one where you post every damn aspect of your life online. Sure it’s the cool thing to do, but if you’re worried about Jack or Jacqueline the psycho / stalker / voyeur / rapist / NAMBLA member turning up on your doorstep then maybe you shouldn’t be sharing all of your personal details online?
It’s really simple, lock down that Facebook profile (or other service) and before you post ask yourself if you really want strangers to have access this information?
Don’t want your ex-boyfriend knowing where you’re living? Don’t post your address it online. Why is he even on your friends list anyway?
Don’t want the husband knowing that you’re screwing his mate while he’s at home minding the kids and you’re supposed to be working the night-shift? Don’t post a picture of yourself sucking face with him at the bar! It’s such a simple concept.
While you’re at it, use a service like Google Voice so that you never have to give out your “real” phone number and have complete control over when and who can text or call you. Sara actually thinks that Google Voice should be marketed to people who date a lot, as it is perfect tool for blocking annoying calls and texts and making sure that only the people you want to contact you can.
Just because we use the internet doesn’t mean that we have to change all of our other social behaviors to compensate for what we post. Lying about who we are is a sad attempt to fix a problem by causing another problem, without ever actually addressing the root issue – not being responsible about what we post online.
As for this idea of weeding out the psychos by giving fake names, I believe it’s fair to say that the worst personality traits of people often don’t surface until you’ve been in a relationship with them for a long time, so lying at the beginning is hardly going to protect you from the worst of things. Not to mention that lying is never a good way to begin a relationship.