In the age old days, we had limited information about alliances that middlemen or brokers brought in and we heavily relied on offline networks for social due diligence. It was usually enough if the tharkari (potential spouse) had a respected public sector job with the promise of pension and you could call their office to get a character certificate from a random colleague. But, gone are those days, thanks to social media. Today we live in a world where one’s existence and character is verified on the internet and presence of respectable mutual friends is a measure of confidence in the alliance. So, if you are in the market, whether you like it or not, you will be stalked mercilessly before any contact is established with you. So, online social presence upkeep is more important than ever before.
In 2008-09, I used to be Karthik’s (my current husband) Marriage Broker Auntie and he seriously needed some help with what I call “Social laundry” or in simple words, a deep cleansing of his social media pages. For instance, there was this photo that had no place being publicly available, even if Karthik thought he could send off some “I used to party regularly in my school compound and hence, I am very cool” vibes. For one, it automatically weeded out uncool parents of all the cool chicks out there from passing on his profile to their wards. Secondly, even if his profile actually ended up with a cool chick, this picture is really not cool because this ain’t a picture of a suave guy who can hold his beer and jiggy some sophisticated moves to Led Zep or something. While perception lies in the eye of the beholder, I frankly thought he appears like an overenthusiastic dude who had found liberation consuming alcohol outside the confines of his conservative home and expressed it through rigorous head banging to “bin were sanam (90’s hindi pop)”.
You might argue that someone has to like you for everything you are and all that, but this ain’t the love marriage market for people to be generously forgiving about social faux pas. People have all sorts of hang ups/ fetishes about potential spice in the arranged marriage market and even if you are slightly off the mark, you don’t qualify. So, we all ought to do what we can and invest some time and effort in social laundry, to ensure that we come off clean if not perfect. For starters, here are a few tips to get you started –
- Get yourself a nice profile picture on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, wherever that you could be hunted down and stalked. Don’t put up group photos where no one knows who you are or even worse, put a picture with a hotter friend!!
- Make sure you do not have any “Share this forward in the next 59 seconds or Baba will curse you for 10 years” level forwards on your page. We are not in 2003 anymore.
- Saying “dis” for this or “lyf” for life is not a thing anymore, so please run a grammar and spell check for all the content you put out (ok, not being a communication Nazi here!). You won’t believe the number of people I have met who eliminate people on the account of terrible grammar, spellings or pronunciation.
- If you have lost 30 pounds over the last 6 months, there is no need to show off with a before and after photo. Rather than being appreciated for your determination and fitness regime, people would be freaked out and wondering when you would get unfit again, unless of course this person is a brand manager with Patanjali foods.
- Oh and make sure you delete all your desperate pleas to friends asking them to trade a seed or life in one of the crazy games you are addicted to because usually this is a sign of not having a life.