Theory and research on self-monitoring have accumulated into a sizable literature on the impact of variation in the extent to which people cultivate public appearances in diverse domains of social functioning. Yet self-monitoring and its measure, the Self-Monitoring Scale, are surrounded by controversy generated by conflicting answers to the critical question, Is self-monitoring a unitary phenomenon? A primary source of answers to this question has been largely neglected - the Self-Monitoring Scale's relations with external criteria. We propose a quantitative method to examine the self-monitoring literature and thereby address major issues of the controversy. Application of this method reveals that, with important exceptions, a wide range of external criteria tap a dimension directly measured by the Self-Monitoring Scale. We discuss what this appraisal reveals about what self-monitoring is and is not.