by STEPHANIE WO
Admit it, we’re all guilty of what seems to be this generation’s favorite pastime: Facebook stalking. With the ease and accessibility of information social networking provides, it’s no wonder that this is the case.
If you are curious about whether or not you fit the criteria of a “stalker” or are in denial, prepare to confirm your new found status as another Facebook stalker. Perhaps one of the most common symptoms of Facebook stalking is knowing about what your friends are up to during the weekend, which means gaining the ability to finish conversations come Monday morning:
Friend: So, on Friday night I wa-
Facebook Stalker (you): You were at the Cheesecake Factory in Freehold and then slept over at Jane Doe’s house! I saw that you checked in around 7pm and confirmed your location when you uploaded tagged photos. By the way, I loved that sweater you were wearing? Let me guess, Forever 21?
“It’s just really hard to remember not to bring stuff you see on Facebook about other people into real life conversation, or else the other person will suspect you of stalking,” quips a source that wishes to remain anonymous.
If that isn’t stalker-ish enough, or something that you don’t find yourself doing too much, then perhaps you are familiar with the feeling of frustration when you come upon someone that isn’t your friend with top notch security settings:
Facebook Stalker (you): Hmm let me just look up this person that I met last week…
Person’s Profile: Only displays birthday and high school, you and _______ aren’t friends. If you know _______, send him/her a friend request or message her.
“Yes, I do get upset when this happens…it’s sad, but sometimes I just really want to see something!” says another source that wishes to remain anonymous.
At this point, you curse their security settings because they prevent you from stalking their tagged pictures and interests, which means not comparing yourself to them. But of course, you can’t just add them or, even more radical, message them because that would mean actually exposing your existence to said person and maybe slightly even hint that you’ve taken the time to click around and find them in the internet world-it’s just way too risky. Alas, you settle with moving onto your next victim person on your list.
But of course, the heaviest Facebook stalking is actually done on yourself. You find yourself periodically (and by periodically I mean every few seconds or so) clicking on your name in the upper right hand corner on the toolbar. You stalk your profile picture and decide on whether or not you should update it and, if so, who would possibly like/comment on it?
You check your tagged photos to see if they are an accurate representation of your life thus far. You add any new “likes” that you think will make you look better to the other stalkers out there. Basically, you construct a well-thought out, artfully-crafted, self-promotion billboard that screams: “THIS IS ME AND THE MOVIES I LIKE AND SOME PICTURES WITH MY FRIENDS AND ALL THE PEOPLE THAT LIKE ME ENOUGH TO POST ON MY WALL.”
Fear not, this shameless self-promotion is normal; after all, we all want to be accepted by others, or at least not looked down upon by other unrelenting stalkers out there. The sheer fact that we as individuals pay so much attention to the appearance of our Facebook profiles makes us think that others do the same as well. This in turn triggers a viscous cycle in which we stalk and then promote ourselves to be stalked.