Probably the best thing about the internet is that it allows you to KNOW EVERYTHING IMMEDIATELY. Is a moose bigger than a horse? What's a "Kylie Jenner"? Does zucchini bread count as a vegetable? Could I beat a deer in a fight? What the fuck is the Huffington Post? It's a beautiful thing, this internet, though not without its pitfalls. Nowhere are the internet's beauty and its pitfalls so apparent as in the realm of romance.
For the first time in human history, huge swaths of the dating pool have voluntarily cataloged their own intimate details and drunken photos for the ready, instant browsing of any creepy goober with internet access. Your crushes, your exes, your potential OKCupid dates—pretty much all of them are going to have some sort of online presence, if you know where to look (which, come on, you obviously do). This can be great, if you want to vet tomorrow night's date for pick-up artist tendencies, Republicanism, or wintertime flip-flops. Or, it can be terrible, if you get so caught up in the virtual life of the guy you lost your virginity to that you knit a set of dog-socks when his beagle gets sick and mail them to him even though you two haven't spoken since 1998. That is BAD. DO NOT DO THAT. For all its boons, the internet is basically an automated crossing-the-line machine.
Arwa Mahdawi at the Guardian has an excellent roundup of guidelines for how to investigate a potential mate without getting caught and spending the rest of your life in shame-prison (or, worst case scenario, actual prison). My personal favorites: