Saturday, June 15, 2013

Did You Google Stalk Your Fellow Interns?

Hello fellow Edsters!

I am quickly developing a fear of the unknown. As I get ready to start my internship next week, I keep thinking about what I’ll be doing, whom I’ll be meeting and what I will gain from the experience. I have always been someone who wants to know exactly what is going on, all of the time.

The other day I received an email from my boss with more information regarding our first day and orientation. The other interns in my department were CC’ed and their full names included. My brain jumped to Google searching my co-workers.

In the year 2013, it is nearly impossible to not have some sort of online footprint, whether it is a Twitter page or your name listed on a high school band concert program. When given the name of someone who you will be interviewed by or talking with, it is assumed that before even meeting the person they will have Googled you, and you will have Googled them. Like I have done in the past, I searched to see where the features interns go to school, have worked at previously and what their general interests are just to get a better sense of who I’ll be with. Never the less, the entire time I felt extremely guilty scrolling through their recent tweets and scanning articles written by them.

I didn’t find anything out of the ordinary about the other interns. All the girls seemed to have similar online profiles including Twitter accounts, personal, and professional websites. My investigation went on for a good ten minutes as I dug through LinkedIn pages to see where my co-workers have previously worked. Reading about the companies and publications they had written for quickly became the most interesting part.

What I ended up doing most was comparing myself with them, which only made me more nervous that I wouldn’t be as good of an intern or that I wouldn’t fit in. After concluding my search I thought about two things. First off, is it really bad to try and learn about your colleagues before you meet them? And if so, how does that affect their chance to leave an impression on me when I meet them? Sure, knowing someone goes to school in California, for example, does not dictate their work ethic in the office or personality. But having a mental profile of a fellow intern before I even stepped into the office felt wrong and extremely creepy. 

Although not every moment in life relates back to a How I Met Your Mother episode, my urge to gain information on the other interns felt similar to Season 7, Episode 6 titled ‘Mystery vs. History’ when Ted decides to date a woman without researching her first. He explains how in the past, he has ruined dates by revealing unappealing information on them. In a way working with and becoming friends with other interns is a form of dating.

Although is it beneficial and necessary in many ways to know a great deal about the company you work for and the editors you work with, at what point do you draw the line? The information we put online is available to everyone, but is there harm in taking advantage of it and doing your research? If you have any other conclusions, comment below. For now, I’ll be keeping my online stalking to a minimum.

Until next time,
Edit Intern

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