Welcome to CNET's Love Syncs, where we answer your questions about online dating. I'm Erin Carson, staff reporter, resident young-enough-person, refrigerdating correspondent, curator of oddities and most likely to leave you on "read."
Today we tackle the question of whether you need to get your Instagram account involved in your online dating pursuits.
So, double tap that mess and let's get going.
Q: Should I link my Instagram to my dating apps?
Instagram. It's one of the best ways to curate an online self that's only kinda sorta reflective of who you are. And thanks to technology, you can link it to a variety of dating platforms you might use. The idea is that it could help you better show off what your life is like to potential whomevers.
But should you?
Allow me to caution the hell out of you.
First, be sure you know exactly how the dating profile you use integrates with Instagram. Some apps do a good job of hiding your handle as well as captions that might contain hashtags or friends' handles or location tags. You can't tap through to the person's actual Instagram profile. That's a good thing for reasons I'll get into shortly. This might not be the case with every other platform you try.
The reason any of that matters is because SOME PEOPLE ARE CREEPY.
Trust me. I'm a woman on the internet. I know.
Before you connect your Instagram, consider all the additional information you could be disclosing about your life to total strangers, like the places you regularly hang out, where you live, where you buy your hot sauce, the gym you go to, who your friends are. It's the kind of info you could glean just from looking at a collection of photos and connecting a few dots. Someone you just met online — or maybe haven't even started talking to, doesn't need to know your last name and where you walk your dog.
So, before you go linking accounts, take a skeptical eye to your own Instagram account and make sure you're not unintentionally making yourself vulnerable to anyone out there with bad intentions. And don't forget whatever crazy thing you post to IG, will end up on your dating profile as well. That means that pic you took of your midnight pastrami sandwich.
Or, you could just stick with the four or five photos you've already picked out for your dating profile so I'm not up all night worrying about you.
CNET's Love Syncs is an advice column focusing on online dating. If you've got a question about finding love via app, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.