Dating in the Digital Age

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Friends don't let friends text drunk.These posts are based on the reality TV series, Tough Love: Miami. I don’t comment on what happened in the show. Instead, I talk about what women can learn from each episode’s theme. You can check out my previous series here.

If you missed other posts, check them out below:

Tough Love #1: How to Create A Positive First Impression

Tough Love #2: Dating in the Digital Age

It’s 2011 and anything about you could be online, whether you want it to or not. Although that may be scary for some, for others, it’s provides an opportunity.

The information you have online is now your social and dating capital.

People will Google you after they meet you and get home. Your online presence is the modern-day first impression so It’s important you have it in tip top shape.

Here are three quick things you can do right now to improve your online presence.

1. Google yourself. Type in your name (if you have a common name, use specific location) and see what results come up. Filter through the “web,” “images,” and “video” categories.

If you see something you don’t want associated to your name, use what control you have to remove it. If you don’t have control, reach out to the person who does and request they remove it for you.

2. Defrag your social media. Go through ALL of your pictures on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.. Untag or delete those you don’t want on there. If a picture is REALLY bad, go the extra step and ask your friend to remove it. 

TIP: As long as you’re not tagged, you should be fine. Deleting is the second layer of protection for you -- and is recommended.

Also, be sure to untag any inappropriate posts / conversations that include your name.

3. Safeguard your photos. I hate to say it but if you’re the kind of woman that loves to take photos, you must consciously think about where they may be going.

It might be fun now to show off drunken, glamour shots when you’re 24, but it won’t be as great when you’re 35.

Now that your online presence is under control, let’s now talk about real-time communication.

When you’re dating someone, online or text communication should start off as appropriate. Just because you have a screen to hide behind, doesn’t mean rules don’t apply.

Men are still judging you based on the things you say so keep things appropriate and save anything “border-line” for when you’re in-person so he can put a facial expression to what you’re saying.

When it comes to the communication dynamic, pay attention to how he is communicating to you. If he’s using emoticons (unlikely), or using text speak, it’s then ok to reciprocate in the same manner.

If he doesn’t do that, I would advise not to introduce anything like that, in case he doesn’t know or like it.

When it comes to drunk texting, let’s face it -- we’ve all been a victim (or suspect) of it once or twice -- or many times. Let me put it this way:

Texting is just like operating heavy machinery. You wouldn’t want to drive home drunk, right? 

Don’t text drunk.

There should be a campaign, “Friends don’t let friends text drunk.”

Overall, communication digitally was meant to be a convenience more than a necessity. In other words, it’ll always be better to talk on the phone than text. Talking on the phone ensures communication won’t be misinterpreted.

In the beginning stages of dating, use texting and emails for logistical purposes, such as making arrangements for the date, letting someone know you’re running late or that you can’t find them in the venue.

Yes, in this digital age, our lives have become a little less private. But instead of fearing and reacting, use the tools to your advantage and present your best self possible.

Your first impression now comes with a digital fingerprint.

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