Cards on the table, let’s be real for a moment. Whether it’s because we’ve been bored out of our minds, or caught up in our feelings, or trying to find any which way to procrastinate, we’re all guilty of having crept on to an ex’s/old school friend’s/completely random person’s Facebook/Instagram/Twitter page. Face it, it happens, we’ve all been there.
Isn’t that the point of social media though? To allow us to keep tabs on one another? Yeah sure, there are the whole ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘networking’ aspects of it, but the fact that we’re able to anonymously view one another’s personal statuses and photos massively overrides those things. You don’t have to like a person, or even know them for that matter, and yet you can still view their entire collection of selfies and make your way through all of their holiday photos, twice or even ten times over if you like, and they’ll forever remain none-the-wiser!
Ok yes, everything that I just said does sound extremely stalker-ish and creepy but as I previously stated, we’ve all been that person. So before you proceed to hang your head in shame I’ll invite you to look at this from a different angle; perhaps the perpetrators are not you and I, but rather the sneaky social media platforms instead. Think about it, their intricately designed privacy settings policies have essentially been put in place to encourage stalker behaviour. Why else would they allow for anonymous viewing and open profiles? [Lightbulb switching on above head moment!]. So let’s cut ourselves some slack and recognise that we’re not completely at fault here; in all honesty we’re just pawns in the social media game. And hey, there are some positive aspects to this whole ‘stalking’ thing that we do.
For starters, it’s allowed for an entire generation to add ‘researcher’ and/or ‘part-time detective/investigator’ to the skills sections of our CVs with no implications of over-embellishment whatsoever, because it’s the truth! We’re all capable of running CIA-esque background checks on people these days which can be particularly useful when you need to get the 411 on someone you don’t necessarily know very well- a scenario which is becoming increasingly common what with millions of us meeting people via online dating websites and apps like Tinder. So essentially it’s not all bad.
But of course it’s not all rainbows and sunshine either. I’m no expert but all that time spent glued to your phone or laptop screen, obsessively clicking and scrolling up and down, cannot be good mental health-wise. It’s too early to know the long-term effects of all this social media creeping, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s only feeding in to the epidemic of narcissism and low self-esteem that’s slowly but surely sweeping the globe. So yeah, that’s not great.
However, positives and negatives aside, it’s clear that this cyber stalking pass-time of ours is here to stay. And so moving forward I propose that we do three things in order to retain our sanity:
- Let’s all hold our heads up high and acknowledge our clandestine creeping activities, because it’s a skill and we blatantly all do it so where is the shame in talking about it?! Let’s break bread over our creeping habits!
- Let’s refer to it as ‘researching’ because ‘stalking’ is such an ugly word and it also implies seedy undertones which is not always the case.
- Let’s do ourselves a favour and keep our ‘researching’ time to a limit. Don’t be that person who opts to stay in on a Friday night, glass of wine in one hand, refreshing your ex’s Twitter page with the other because that is NOT a good look.
All in all, I think that the key is to keep your social media creeping as an occasional guilty pleasure, rather than a destructive bad habit. So bear that in mind; happy ‘researching’. 😛