After You’ve Googled Your Date, Check Out His Persona

Yesterday’s cautionary tale about Googling your date got me thinking. My last blind date (before which I did no investigation) was seriously a nightmare.

As Tom and I sat down for a glass of wine, he launched right in: “I am under investigation by the Federal Government.” I smiled and laughed. “I’m serious,” he said with a strangely vacant smile. “What for?” I asked shifting in my seat and starting to sweat a little bit. “They are accusing me of insider trading, but I’m innocent.” “Great!” I said relieved. “Unless I get indicted,” he said, “then I would go to jail.” I gulped my wine down, asked for the check, and sprinted in the rain as fast as I could to the nearest subway station.

So now my friend wants to set me up on a blind date and I want to make extra sure that I have all the dirt on this dude before proceeding. Never again will I suffer a repeat of the Tom scenario. So, following Wendy’s sage advice, I Googled this guy’s name AND email address.

Phew … he came up clean. Good job in a creative industry, went to the same college as me, good-looking as far as Google images are concerned, and, most importantly, he doesn’t seem to be wanted or have a diaper fetish. Great! Now, because I’m paranoid – you can understand why — I decided to take my investigation to the next level and really try to find out his true colors. What else could I do, you ask? Check out his internet persona. Yes. Personas is a website that is a companion to an exhibit on display at the MIT Museum. So here’s what happens: You enter a name and Personas searches the web for information and attempts to characterize that person by making a colorful ribbon out of pre-determined categories. It’s kind of like a colorful internet background check. OMG! So cool. Check out my date’s Persona. Looks good to me. I’m glad to see that we have the music, movies, and books in common (I did my own Persona too of course). I’m thinking I’ll say yes to the set-up.