I don’t now if Facebook has an official slogan or not, but I think it should be: “Giving all types of weird and boring people a public forum since 2004.”
Status Update; Tristlynn is: tired.
Comment 1: Ohhh Girl you’re the best!!
Comment 2: Trynn, you work too hard, go get some sleep!
Comment 3: You’re a tire? I thought you were a human?!? Jk, luv ya big sis!
Comment 4: Cuz you been PARTYING??? Oh, wait, that’s me! hahahahah!!
Comment 5: Hon, how did the test go? I love you…Mom.
But while the recent revolution in social media has its cons, it also has one huge pro, namely the nearly limitless potential for stalking. Now, there are many different kinds of stalking, and some existed before social media. For some of us stalking is taking black and white pictures of other people from a windowless van with high-powered cameras. Is there anything wrong with that? Of course there isn’t. It’s a hobby in the same way tennis is a hobby. And ever since the advent of heartthrob and uber-stalker Edward Cullen, those in the professional stalking community have gained new stature, even insisting that stalking now be called “protecting.”
Who me? Oh, uh I’m just protecting this person across the street. You bet I will. You have a good day too, officer.
But this post is about a different kind of stalking, the kind where someone simply has to know about everything going on around them. And whether you admit it or not, almost all of us have a stalking bone in our bodies. Women are born with 7 or 8 of them, but even us dudes have one.
Here’s an example of one of the many forms of casual stalking; one that comes from my life:
Husband: “Hey Hon.”
Wife: “So, how was your lunch the other day?”
Husband: “Um, fine.”
Wife: “What did you have?”
Husband: “What are talking about? Which day?”
Wife: “You tell me.”
Husband: “I just really don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Wife: “I found a Chick-fil-A receipt in your car.”
Husband: “Ok… So what’s the problem?”
Wife: “Why were you trying to hide it from me?”
Husband: “I wasn’t. I’m skinny and we aren’t poor, so I have no reason to hide it. I just didn’t deem it newsworthy, I guess.”
Wife: “Well you didn’t tell me about it, which is weird, and what did you do with the trash?”
Husband: “You’re crazy, you know that?”
That kind of stalking has been going on from the time Adam’s own-business-minding rib came back with eyes and a mouth and opinions about every single thing. But now social media has blown open the world of casual stalking. We make connections with people and it’s a natural human instinct to be curious from time to time about where that person ended up. So we stalk them on blogs, Facebook, maybe even Google them if they are notable enough to appear on a Google search. Sometimes we do this with people we don’t even like. Especially people we don’t like, actually. My wife, Rebecca, regularly checks a certain blog. Reading about all the world traveling and triathaloning and perfect lifeing gets under her skin (you are allowed to blog about 1 or even 2 of those, but not all 3) and everyone knows her rich parents are paying for all those fabulous vacays she and DH go on! All this annoys Reba, so naturally she keeps going back. And a lot of folks say they only blog to force them to keep a journal. This is a lie. They blog to be stalked.
“But Christian, what about the people who take their blogs private, those people obviously don’t want to be stalked, right?”
Wrong. Those people went private because they gained weight or married someone they’re ashamed of. When they lose the weight (or spouse), they’ll go public again; trust me on this one.
It’s great to see you again too Natalia! Be sure to Facebook me! Ok, now. And to your health as well. Bye bye.
Now I have been a pretty proficient amateur stalker—for a guy, at least—my whole life. The highest level, most professional stalking I’ve ever done was at BYU:
(Warning, the following account will alter your opinion of me. All I can say is that it felt right at the time.)
I met this girl at BYU who I was smitten with and I wanted to contact her again, but the only thing I knew about her was her first name. So I called BYU info to see if they could help me out. Of the 100 BYU operators, guess who answered the phone? A good friend of mine. Point Sharkman. It was a sign. I asked this friend what she could do to help me and she told me she couldn’t do much with just a first name. Point Patriot Act. But then she called back on a secure line (i.e. a line that didn’t have a serious 29 year old MTC teaching job reject listening for quality control) and told me she had a buddy who worked in the BYU IT dept. This buddy had access to the BYU system that has everyone’s basic info on it, including their student ID photo, and he had given her his username and password and had approved limited sharing. Another point Sharkman. I found her info, nothing came of it, and I married the lovely Reba. But that’s not the point. The point is I took initiative, got a little creative, a little funky, and I made things happen.
With technology going the way it is, I suspect we’ll get to the point where we are all tired of each other and want to go back to the days where stalkers had no rights. But for now, this feels very natural.