Are We Obsessed With Social Media Stalking?

The short answer to this question is a very simple yes. People spend on average nine hours a day in front of a screen (that's 30 years of your life in case you're already feverishly googling digital detoxes), and while some of that might be attributed to you binge-watching the entire second season of House of Cards this past weekend, there's no denying some of it—maybe most of it—is spent on social media platforms stalking various people. But, the long answer is a little bit more complicated. 

Let's rewind back to the early days of Facebook. When MySpace was sort of on its way out and people were just starting to get their profiles all jazzed up with Bumper Stickers (though that's really just translated to an updated version on Instagram with #Wednesdaywisdom) and you really just went on to creep your crush/ex/whatever, but only for an hour or two a night because it was still the dark ages of dial-up or your parents monitored your internet time. Or maybe you were the one who didn't have a Facebook profile, but your bestie was kind enough to lend you their password so you could also creep your crush/ex/whatever. (I won't even go back to the days of MSN when you asked your friend to see if so-and-so was online to find out if they blocked you—this is a very ancient form of stalking that will be talked about in history books.)

Fast forward to 2014 and you've got a bevy of social media platforms to choose from: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, LinkedIn, Tumblr and even dating apps like Tinder and OkCupid just add fuel to the social media stalking fire. But while we are without a doubt obsessed with social media stalking and seeing what that girl from highschool is doing with her third (?!) baby on the way, we're also making it a lot easier for people to stalk on social media. Yes, I'm looking at you. The one who hashtags like mad on their Instagram picture or tags their location on Facebook. Hey, I do it too. But it becomes a viscious circle of stalking and wanting to be stalked. The question becomes are we more obsessed with social media stalking or being stalked? Do you get a small tinge of satisfaction when 20 people "like" your photo on Instagram or when an ex views your LinkedIn profile to see how fabulous you're doing in life? Probably just a teeny bit. 

There’s a video on Youtube where a guy conducts this social media experiment: He looks to see who has checked in to various restaurants around him, quickly creeps their profiles and then goes and starts up a conversation with them. Creepy, right? All these people are totally wigged out about it (you would be too), but then again, we’re making it unbelievably easy for people to stalk us. Sure, when I tagged my location during Winterlicious a couple of weeks back, it was implied just for my friends, but anyone could have seen it.

So, yes we are totally 100% obsessed with social media stalking. We spend hours creeping peoples’ pages or asking our friends to so that the person doesn’t know. We ask our friends how they know this guy that we saw on Tinder before we swiped right and when one picture peaks our interest it usually follows with 45 minutes of photo album-creeping. But, we’re also obsessed with over-sharing and being stalked. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s life these days. People have nothing to creep when you don’t post anything.

Tags: Facebook, Instagram, social media sharing, social media stalking, Twitter

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