Brave New World

stalking 1

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.”

stalking van

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.

rasputin

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.

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27 Responses to Brave New World

  1. Eliza says:

    So true about facebook, there are about 1.5% of people on there that actually have funny or worthwhile status updates, the rest make me want to gouge my eyes out. I just saw this on someone’s blog, its from the urban dictionary: “Vaguebooking: An intentionally vague Facebook status update, that prompts friends to ask what’s going on, or is possibly a cry for help.” funny huh, and soooooooo annoying. and btw my opinion of you was altered… my respect for you skyrocketed. ; )

  2. Macy Bell says:

    I think you are probably right about people, although some people definitely more than others. I knew a guy at BYU for instance , who followed a girl from a party, out of the party, and after she got in her car, then he got in his car and followed her home. Have no idea what he did next, but I am sure this wasn’t first time. Also, another one of Ryan’s friends used to get girls schedule from a friend they had who worked in the admin office. So crazy.

    Also, my husband believe or not has been known to be a pretty good stalker back in the day.

    I am not so sure about having a blog for that reason though.

  3. Jon says:

    Macy,

    After I followed her home I just waited outside to make sure she got to sleep okay… Then I kidnapped her dog.

  4. Troy says:

    Kook and Eliza, thank you for pointing out Vaguebooking. In addition to the Bachelor, it’s one of those phenomenons that makes me think most girls are insane.

    Makaylee is: Having the worst day ever!!!
    Sherrilyn: OMG are you okay??
    Keeshauna: Let’s go get a PEDI like nowsville 😉
    Shanaynae: I just made a HUGE batch of cookies — come OVER!!
    Makaylee: Ugh! I’m NEVER going to wear a swimsuit this year with you as a neighbor, Shanaynae!
    Loralee: TELL me about it. My baby is teething — need I say more?
    Dawna: Is it the SNOW? Seriously, yesterday I saw my hyacinths, daylilies and aster, today: YUCKY white stuff. NOOO!!!!
    Breanna: Hi. Did we talk today? I don’t think we did, and that’s weird.

  5. Davis says:

    You’ve raised an interesting point I’d never considered: Thanks to Stephenie Myers, there’s a whole generation of young women who now consider stalking to be “protecting.” Unfortunately, their male counterparts aren’t aware of this change in social mores, and probably won’t take advantage of it.

  6. Squewquang says:

    Yes! Facebook is dumb!
    Its my goal to be the last person on earth to join facebook. Then when they come to overtake our planet I’ll be the only one immune to their attacks, I’ll destroy them, and become king of what ever imbeciles are left.

    Can you imagine if people used facebook conversation styles in the real world?

    Facebooker: “Bracklyn did it again, call the circus.”

    Me: “Uhh . . . hi Sara how are you?”

    Facebooker: “White, unless I’m feeling scandalous then red!”

    Me: “Ok, Sister Peterson. . . see you next sunday.”

    Facebooker: “I just found a lonely sheep!”

    Me: “I’m leaving now.”

  7. Ryan says:

    As stalkable information has increased, stalking skill and interest has certainly kept pace. I personally think it’s mostly a good thing. It used to be harder to figure out the types of things we’re supposed to conform to, but now, it’s a cinch.

  8. Troy says:

    I keep forgetting to set my status to: “Weirdsies”

  9. Davis says:

    I’m setting mine to, “Just kind of depressed because no one thinks I’m cool.”

  10. Ali says:

    i think this whole internet stalking thing is going to go bad real quick. i read an article about a girl who internet stalked a guy before she went out with him and then the entire date couldn’t remember what he had told her and what she read on the internet. funny and sad.

  11. Braden says:

    “i.e. a line that didn’t have a serious 29 year old MTC teaching job reject listening for quality control)” Perfect. You re a keen and perceptive observer and chronicler of culture, Kook

  12. maweesa says:

    i love me some good old fashioned fbook and blog stalking… and if you say you don’t, you’re not telling the truth.

  13. Anna says:

    Your absolutely right. Fortunately I finally introduced myself onto your blog. I was feeling a little creepy before doing so.

  14. Danica says:

    Oh man, our computer has had major issues for a while and I’ve gotten so behind the times with DDDT. So funny, like always. Or am I “feeling just kinda depressed” right now since I do some of those sorry things you talked about. Dude, my best stalking story is this totally scary dirty old man that used to stalk me and my friends walking to and from elementary school. The weird thing is that our parents didn’t believe us. What? We memorized his license plate and everything, you know, in case we ever needed to tell the authorities who stole my brother. Our rhyme to remember it: 2K55808, that’s the white van’s license plate.

  15. Zack says:

    Just reading DDDT with my lady here, and Danica couldn’t even finish the post before she began stocking your wife’s blog. I must be pretty cool/popular since I hate Facebook and blogging, or at least I try to act that way in front of Danica so she won’t see all of my weird status updates. “Zoinks.” Why do some people love stalking more than others? Every once in a while, I’ll ask Danica what she’s looking at on the computer, and it will be an old friend’s sister’s blog who she doesn’t even know, but wants to be involved in their lives. She’ll email them and say, “Hey, I’m friends with your sister and I love your blog…I swear we must have known each other in the preexistence and been BFFs.”

  16. Christian says:

    Eliza, that is so funny about vaguebook. So true.

    Status update: Why Me!

    Status update: Ugg.

    Macy, wow, those dudes were real stalkers. I can’t believe that guy got their schedules!!! I had that power, with my access to that BYU network, but I was more of a benevolent stalker. And I do believe you about Ryan, because I’ve heard the stories. He was a great stalker back when he was in better shape. People don’t have blogs to be stalked, but they do have blogs because they want them to be read.

    Jon, lol. You grew up under a different set of survival rules in Southie, so nobody here judges you. You did what you had to do.

    Troy. Makaylee. Good stuff.

    D-boz, you hit it right on the head. I’m considering setting up a non profit that educates young men on how to leverage this new gift they have been given.

    Ry, you think it’s a good thing? It’s a good thing.

    Ali, that’s so funny. In Are Men Really Necessary, Maureen Dowd talks about people doing extensive research on their prospective dates on google (which only works in the fancy circles she runs in, since no one I know is really googleable) as well as using google to do really horrible google bombs on their x’s. Like really horrible, embarrassing, untrue things that ruin reputations. Crazy. This is why I dated someone from the south who wasn’t very familiar with the internet.

    Braden, It’s no joke. there is an army of those disillusioned lower managers running BYU. They should wear Brown Shirts.

    Maweesa, It’s so true.

    Anna, we have plenty of stalkers around here, just as we are all stalkers elsewhere. And we welcome any stalker to step into the light at anytime, or to remain in the van. Welcome, friend.

    Danica! Zach! I honestly was thinking my Barstow jokes may have crossed the line and was about to make the journey to your blog to apologize. Danica, I haven’t laughed that hard in quite a while. Your parents didn’t believe you? That’s so funny to me. Parents were just like that back then. Good for them. I love that you guys had a song (that you still know) for when one of you was abducted. I’m rambling now, but I just can’t get over that story. Reba and I can’t stop laughing about it. And don’t worry about being guilty of social media lameness. We all are. Why do you think my bio picture is of me saving that orphan boy from drowning in the river?

    Zach, thanks for ratting out Danica for the good of the group. Funny. That’s why I put up the link. I only felt it appropriate, given the subject matter.

  17. Traci says:

    Hey, followed someone over here from the Apron Stage, friggin’ hilarious. Love, love this blog.

  18. Ryan says:

    Welcome, Traci- good to have you.

  19. Christian says:

    Glad you found us, Traci. I love the Apron Stage. For your protection, we ask all first time commenters to leave email us their social security number and address, just in case you ever need help with anything but the phone cuts off before you can give us the info we need. Thanks.

  20. Norm says:

    Ah Megan. She was my Anatomy 200 crush. Unfortunately that class has over 500 people in it and when I lamented that she wasn’t in my lab to a friend of mine with connections she offered me Megan’s schedule.

    What was I going to do say no?

    Besides it’s not really stalking if you actually go up and talk to her right?

  21. Christian says:

    Squew, I have no idea how I missed your comment, but your plan made me laugh. It probably really is some sort of conspiracy. Lately I’ve been thinking about how screwed I am if I ever want to do anything in the public eye because of the hundreds of incriminating emails I’ve written on gmail that are stored in some hackable google server somewhere.

    Norm, you’re the class schedule guy? lolol. That makes my day. And no, it’s definitely not stalking if you talk to them, which is why I call all the people I stalk and breath into the phone. It’s not stalking then.

  22. Sherri says:

    Confessions of a stalkoholic
    Hello. My name is Sherri Galbraith and I stalk people’s blogs. I admit it! I totally stalk all kinds. I have never tried to hide it ok???? BFFs in the preexistence Zack? BINGO! And well, if not I thought maybe just stalking you would be enough to make you love me… as someone pointed out, it worked for Edward. While I’m opening up, let me just let it all out. Ready yourselves for a rant. Growing up as a military brat one is uprooted many a times, maybe even attending a different high school each year. I met the Nelson family in Barstow, and freely admit to loving them all like crazy. Even after all these years. (I have a few stories myself, eh?) I did not go to BYU. I did not make lots of lifelong collage friends. I got married at just past 19 and moved to Mexico. Some people might try to laugh about the fact that they spent time growing up in a little box made out of ticky-tacky on a hillside in Barstow. I for one have learned to embrace it. It just adds to my particular uniqueness when you consider that I broke out of the mold and now live a life of adventure beyond the borders of familiarity. Here in the third world all my closest friends are either too technologically challenged, or too cool to blog. This frankly leaves me with no local stalk options. Thus I am bound to search my past and dig up something to remember and connect with (even if it is one-sided) from that far and distant land that was once called home. Where everybody blogs and there’s a green blog and a pink blog and a blue and a yellow one and they’re all made from cutest blog on the block backgrounds and they all look the same. Well then there are all of YOU. And no one here fits in that category in any way at all. Except maybe me with my lack of blog skills… but hey I’m bilingual. Oh and there is Emily Falconbridge. And I have never even met her. Probably never will. But I dreamt about her last night. So here’s to stalking. I LOVE IT!!! Is it creepy? Maybe… but baby I’m your biggest fan.

  23. Sherri says:

    BTW- DDDT doesn’t count. I read you guys for sheer laugh value and entertainment. We don’t have cable…

  24. Christian says:

    Sherri, you are the kind of stalker that makes a blogger proud. Stalkers like you make all the blogging effort worthwhile. Thank you for revealing yourself. Very funny and entertaining.

    What does you husband do in Mexico? I think it would be awesome to live someplace like that for a few years.

  25. Kyz says:

    Christian. I was led here by Reba’s invite to DDDT’s FB page. Point Reba. Or is it Point FB? Clearly I dont need to out myself as a blog-reading-people-stalker-link-clicking-FB-group-page lover, or else I wouldnt be here 🙂 My goal now is to see how many fellow kiwi’s I can pull towards this site. a) because it is part of the good-page-find code. b) because Im trying to saty true to my stalker values (Iwill be clicking on Reba’s link right after I post this just to see what comes up) c) because it is awesome !

  26. Rachel says:

    FYI world…..Christian FB stalked me and added me as a friend after I stalked his blog all day. Just want you to know that he’s not only the president, but also a member.

    Seriously though…great writing & you have fantastic insights.

  27. Christian says:

    Kyz, we have been discussing the sore lack of Kiwi’s around here lately, so anything you can do on that front will be much appreciated. Everything I know about New Zealand makes it one of my favorite places in the world. Here they are:

    1. Lord of the Rings.
    2. Whale Rider.
    3. I have read of not 1 but 2 stories about New Zealand dolphins saving swimmers from sharks. http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2004/11/24/dolphin_newzealand041124.html

    And Reba says hi.

    Rachel,
    “Just want you to know that he’s not only the president, but also a member.”

    lololololol.

    I had to to see how incriminating the Allen link on your wall was. Ends justify the means.

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