What are you going to say next? Oh, I suppose you've also never masturbated, or watched a porno, or drank too much either, huh? You also go to church every Sunday and you love taking your mother to dinner, don't you? Listen kids, what you're selling, I ain't buying. Facebook, for better or for worse has turned us all into peeping-Tom-voyeurs of the WORST kind. The instantaneous nature of availability of information is too tempting to resist. It's enough to make your eyes roll back in your head like a shark in a feeding frenzy. We are all cultivating our online personalities and the information we choose to release is usually very purposeful in nature. Psychologically, we manifest an intention to create a perception of ourselves for others to absorb. What you put out there, you do with intent for others to consume. And consume they will. The ability to do this is somewhat wonderful, but if you can do it, so can everyone else. If you go searching for information about people, based on the vastness of data available, you will almost certainly find what you are looking for and much, much more. In other words? Look before you leap. Er, think before you click. It's all there mon ami, but do you want to know what you want to know?
What, does she want to get her throat slit and her body left in a dumpster or something?
We would stare at her like, "Where the fuck is the dossier? Snap to, girl." Facebook, is a medium for socially acceptable stalking. I have a girlfriend who has a new-ish boyfriend and we actually had a conversation that went like this:
Her: "You haven't friend requested Boyfriend yet, have you?"
Me: "No, I haven't, I don't really know him that well yet, but I do plan to thoroughly Facebook stalk him to check him out."
Her: "Oh yes, please do and let me know what you think of all his photos and friends."
That was a real, almost verbatim conversation. We are not certifiable. Other people (women) have that conversation, or a version of it, all the time.
Naturally, regardless of the privacy settings on his page, all of every woman's best girlfriends will also need to Facebook stalk a new guy and read everything and look at everything which is unprotected, just to make sure that they can stomach him based on the small amount of information available without actually "friend requesting" him. Oh, stop acting so fucking horrified. Everyone knows that everyone does this. We put our whole lives out there for people to see, why WOULDN'T people want to check it out? What do you do when you are bored at work? You Facebook stalk people. You Facebook stalk your friends, your enemies, your friend's friends, your friend's enemies and especially anyone you are interested in, all of their friends, all of their exes, anyone who may be an ex of your person-of-interest and anyone on their page who may be more attractive than you.
I am acutely aware that many people (myself included) are far more open and share much more on Facebook than others do. That isn't wanton and careless though, it simply correlates to your personality in "real life". Outgoing people who are boisterous tend to be especially outgoing and boisterous when using Social Media. Dude, this isn't exactly PhD level psychology, your personality in life corresponds to your personality in the world of Social Media. Regardless of your status as an extrovert or introvert, EVERYONE is more outgoing and discloses more when using Social Media than they do in "real life". Disagree? Well, here is an example, do you have any albums of photos or even just PHOTOS on your page which just any 'ol person can see? You DO?! Well, then let me ask you this; do you carry a fucking photo album around with you in real life and show it to strangers? Hmmm. You don't? Well, then you are more extroverted on Facebook than you are in "real life". Unless you walk around with a photo album and shout unsolicited commentary at total strangers like a Jewish grandmother with tourette's in your day-to-day existence, you are more extroverted on Facebook.
I don't have anything to hide, really. I don't in "real life" and I don't when using Social Media. What you see, is what you get. Still, recently, I have found that I need to be careful with the "over-share" because it is annoying to other people, if for no other reason.
That said, Facebook has turned all into complete lunatics. First of all, we are all now complete attention whores, even those of us who weren't (like me... right?) have become such and those of us who previously liked attention (not me... someone else) have gone totally off the deep end. We are obsessed with people "liking" our statuses and commenting on our posts and "liking" our photos. What the fuck is up with that? I went many, many, many years without anyone following me around giving me the "thumbs up" sign after every damn thing that came out of my mouth and I have a ton of dusty photo albums and no one has ever said one fucking thing about the pictures in those and I am pretty sure I was more mentally stable then. Now, I crave attention to my witty (sometimes) commentary and approval for my photos like a junkie craving a speedball. Having my offerings ignored is detrimental enough to my mental health to send me into the office bathroom to ponder if my life has meaning. This just isn't good. I mean it is addictive as hell, but I am uncertain it's good for any of us.
Don't get me wrong, I am not a Facebook hater, much to the contrary. I will tout the merits of Facebook all over this fine city! It's enabled me to connect with friends I would otherwise NEVER stay in touch with, from all over the country. It's enabled me to promote this blog and send it to people who wouldn't otherwise read it and to gain readership. It's enabled me share some of the happiest moments of my life! It has also enabled me to examine, dissect, analyze and obsess over every detail of every person's life who I have ever had any reason to take any interest in whatsoever.
This is not limited to men and women. I do not (and you do not) just Facebook stalk the opposite sex. Oh no, you Facebook stalk everyone you went to high school with, especially the people who disliked you and the people you disliked. You're "friends" with them on Facebook. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, right? Why wouldn't you? Is there anyone who used to be mean to you who is really fat, ugly, unsuccessful or miserable now? When you feel shitty about yourself, you sometimes delight in that, don't you? Don't lie, lying just makes it worse. You never could have done that without Facebook, could you?
You also Facebook stalk people you like. Ever been in a fight with a friend? You will Facebook stalk the SHIT out of her. "Why is she saying she is having a great Tuesday? Doesn't she feel bad about what she said? Fuck her." Or, "She is only posting those photos from last weekend to piss me off. Bitch." Had Facebook stalking not been around, you may have made up already, but oh, Mark Zuckerberg, you rascal! You made it possible for us to keep pouring salt on those wounds, didn't you?
The very MOST detrimental of all the forms of Facebook stalking is Facebook stalking the opposite sex. I don't care how old you are, or how much education you have, or what you do for a living, Facebook interactions with the opposite sex can immediately reduce you to age of 16 and make you feel as if you are standing in the middle of a mall screaming, "YOU STARTED IT!" You don't even need to be engaging in actual Facebook "stalking" to suddenly feel as if Facebook just caused you to throw a full on teenage temper tantrum. All you have to do is see what other people post, even accidentally to resort to hissy fit level. Yet, like a bad car accident... no, like a bad car accident involving Mothra, a dinosaur, many sets of Hot Wheels and several semi-tractor trailers, you CANNOT look away. You will check every status update, you will look at every photo, you will analyze every detail and then you will go bang your head against a wall somewhere.
From the perspective of relationships and the communication and interactions between men and women, Mark Zuckerberg has basically created a way for a puppet show about everything the other person is doing to be paraded in front of your face every time you turn on the computer. Like, "Good morning! Happy Wednesday! You are about to be PISSED OFF!" I just imagine Mark kicking back in a chair somewhere, tapping his fingers together, laughing maniacally with a cat in his lap, "Oh yes, Mr. Whiskers, they will fight! They will fight so much when they see what each other did this weekend! BWAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!!!!!!!"
"Just unfriend them or block them, Saraswati", you say.
Seriously? Bologna. Weren't you paying attention? Car accident. Mothra. Dinosaur. Hot Wheels. Semi-tractor trailers. What planet are you from?
Ten years ago, when you fought with someone of the opposite sex or someone you were dating or whatever, you had no idea what they were doing. Maybe they were thinking about you? Maybe they were sitting in a closet somewhere, mumbling your name and softly praying you'd come back and forgive them someday. The possibilities were endless and hope sprang eternal. Now, not only do you get to know what they are doing, you get to know minute by minute what they are doing and just how much you are not a factor in it.
Joe just checked in at Fantastic Place You are Not, "Everyone I have ever liked in the history of the universe is here and since one person in particular is not, that I means I never liked them."
Maybe every Facebook status isn't meant to send some message, I get that; I am not retarded. It doesn't mean it won't ruffle your feathers. You will totally read every single thing they post and also want them to drop off the face of the planet simultaneously. Fuck you, Facebook.
I went and searched on YouTube for videos about Facebook stalking and there was plenty of material. Not all of it was good, but some was pretty funny. There are MANY different types of Facebook stalkers. There is this chick:
Don't go look at the photos on profiles of old flames. Why? Because you may find that they have new flames. You will initially be inclined to hate these people, but sometimes, you will discover that they are awesome. Sometimes, you will also discover that they are way cooler and better looking than you will ever be or ever hope to be. Sometimes, you will also discover that the old flame and their new flame are in love. This can be somewhat disheartening.
You can also end up harming yourself with Facebook stalking by looking at old boyfriends, old friends you now hate and past acquaintances by finding out that they are not, in fact, sad, fat and miserable, but that they are engaged and gorgeous and glowing and happy. You may find that they have beautiful new children, immaculate houses and lovely wedding photos. If you want to scroll through someone who you had a college crush on's photos from their trip to Paris with their new fiancé, then be my guest, but if you do this at 2:00 a.m. while drinking bourbon, it maaaaaaaaayyyyyyy not be the healthiest exercise. Just sayin'.
In your quest (your sincere and not-at-all-crazy quest) to learn all you can about the person for whom you have a spark, you may be tempted to go back in time and read posts or comments from years back. There is a reason WHY you should not do this. The reason is, just like Chuck Palahniuk told us (and was regurgitated for us in "Fight Club"), "You are not special. You're not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We're all part of the same compost heap. We're all singing, all dancing crap of the world." What I mean is, someone came before you. If you go looking for shit, you will find shit. Go rooting around and you are likely to find the "Somebody that they used to know", if you know what I mean. Too vague for you? Okay, let me be clearer. You will probably have to read a bunch of shit back and forth between them and their former boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/other polygamous sect members and look at photos and all that nonsense. You probably won't like it, but it won't be anyone's fault but yours.
Go seeking and ye shall usually fucking find.
Still... The information is out there and like cats to catnip, fish to water, me to Manhattans, we simply must go down the rabbit hole. Just don't say I didn't warn you. You could end up in a situation like this:
Today is "Ash Wednesday". I am not Catholic, but I did go to Catholic school and my mother was a crazy religious zealot who made my life a living hell growing up by constantly telling me I was going to hell and all the reasons why. Someday, if we meet for a drink, maybe I'll tell you some of the stories about my mother and why I find the tongue-in-cheek religion gone bad undertone of this site so delightfully funny. I never give up anything for Lent. In fact, if possible, I try to behave even worse during the days leading up to the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To celebrate the very kind words related about our site today in Real Detroit Weekly by the very kind Robert de Valle, Miss Dashy and some of our pack of sinners will anointing our foreheads with cigarette ashes and drinking as if today were "Fat Tuesday".
Therefore, because I cannot control my WICKED impulses, I will leave you today with this. Here, dear readers, is an instructional video which allegedly will allow you to see the code behind the site and which will enable you to find out who REALLY does view your profile the most. I haven't tried it yet, but you better bet your bottom dollar I intend to. I already know who views mine the most. I am absolutely, 100% certain it is my father. That dude will NOT leave me alone.