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Hey! That’s Personal!

A few years ago I didn’t have Facebook, and no one cared. It was a passing curiosity when someone asked me if I had a profile and an equally passive response when I said no. “Oh, that’s cool.” But passivity became passé when — 500 million signups later — suddenly saying no to that question meant I was out of the loop. My personal life was surely filled with mystery and intrigue that just had to be shared with the world! So I caved. And no one cared.

The same can be said for online romance. Nowadays if you’re single and haven’t tried online dating, you’re missing the boat, right? Such is the question many ask themselves when they hear of success. But there are just as many horrific tales as positive ones — as there is with any dating method, to be fair.

When I set up an online dating profile after moving to Colorado, the first thing I noticed was how everyone’s profile was so … basic. Each girl would list how caring, honest and sweet she was. The cynic in me had to wonder if all those things were true and what lesser traits they were hiding. They all loved to have fun (who doesn’t?), travel, watch movies and were up for trying anything once. They were just as inclined to “go out for a night on the town” as they were to “curl up with a good book on the couch.” As am I.

But I wasn’t convinced that just because I too loved movies and having fun we were a perfect match. I needed more. So when I listed that I was stubborn, clumsy, impatient, introverted and terrible at math, within an hour I received an e-mail with the subject line: LOL. The body of the message simply said, “I’m terrible at math, too!” I didn’t quite know what to make of that so I let it go. But maybe I had struck a chord here by listing the good with the bad. I received many more messages commending my transparency, and in turn, responding with the same. It was almost as if a formal silence had been broken by getting personal from the start.

Dating example aside, the question remains of just how revealing one should be with an online persona. This is all the more relevant when you realize that we’re now able to update our lives so fast that we have no built-in buffer to think twice about it; the steps are becoming fewer. No longer do you have to take a picture, upload it to a computer through a cable, then login to an account to post it online. Nor must you even be on a computer. The effort required to show our lives to the world has turned into a few seconds on a cell phone.    

So what do you think? We are encouraged to share so much for everyone to see and are so easily able to do so. Is this a good or bad thing?

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