It was about a month ago that someone accused me of being a Facebook stalker. “But I don’t even have a Facebook account,” was my hasty response. It’s true, ever since I wrote a varsity essay about identity construction online, I have resisted the urge to sign up for a Facebook account. I’ll admit, there have been late nights when I’ve thought, “oh stuff it, where do I sign up?” but the truth is that I have some strong opinions and convictions about social media forums which have ensured that I remain faceless on the World Wide Web.
My feelings about Facebook in a nutshell:
- Online social media forums have become the number one arena where people experiment with their identity. For instance, I’ve seen it so many times – people who project that their life is one non-stop party. They only put up photos of their nights out and post status updates from their phones about where they’re at – ‘Rocking Tiki Bar with the best peeps in the world’ – uh … no … you’re not rocking anything, you’re texting Facebook, and obviously you’d rather update your status than converse with the ‘best peeps in the world.’
- Why are people so proud about the number of friends they have accumulated on Facebook? Five hundred friends? Ya right! Even if you made it your life’s ambition to become acquainted with each one, you’d never really ‘know’ these people well enough to call them friends. In fact, I think Facebook should introduce multiple categories for adding people: 1.) Family and true friends, 2.) People I sorta like, 3.) People I don’t really like but feel obligated to add, 4.) Once off acquaintances, 5.) Complete strangers. I suppose my real gripe here is this – what makes a person say, ‘I kinda like it that people I don’t know look through my personal photographs which detail so much about my life that they would probably be able to find the exact GPS coordinates of my house, all of my regular hang-out spots and possibly even the freckle on my left thigh’?
- Status updates – they really will be the downfall of the human race. Oh the anxiety … ‘What can I write that’s witty, clever, insightful, hilariously funny and cool?’ – all the pressure makes people write status updates like, ‘I love 3D movies, I wish everyday life was also in 3D.’ Talk about a brain drain! I spent hours sifting through the ridiculous status updates posted on failbook.com a few nights ago. It’s no wonder that it is one of the most popular WordPress sites. There’s just a never-ending supply of material. I wish I’d come up with the idea.
- Half-naked pictures – I just don’t get it. Most of the people who form part of one’s 500 ‘friends’ haven’t known much more of you than a handshake or a cursory glance in their direction, but now you don’t mind them seeing you half-naked? Looking for some soft core porn anyone? Just make some ‘friends’ on Facebook and you’ll have access to hundreds of dodge pics. Oh, and sorry for being so last century, but since when is it the done thing to post your honeymoon photos on Facebook?
- And my final major gripe – oh the balls people have grown on Facebook! Even the quietest guy isn’t scared to put himself out there. The insults fly and arguments are instantly publicized on news feeds to over 500 ‘friends.’ It all reminds me of the classic coward who lets his friends take down the big guy in a fight and then throws in a kick from the side once they’ve got him on the ground. If you wouldn’t kick the guy while he’s standing, should you really kick him when he’s down? Same thing here, if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it over Facebook!
So those are just a few of my issues with Facebook. But why did I entitle this post ‘Confessions of a Facebook Stalker’? Well, the truth is, I browse Facebook a lot … via my sister’s account. I am very anti the idea of putting my own life out there for the world to see and become involved in, but I love the voyeuristic aspect of looking into someone else’s life (or what they project of their life) without them knowing. It’s thoroughly entertaining, and I’ve reasoned that it’s okay because if someone puts it all out there, they must know that people are going to look, plain and simple.
Nevertheless, I didn’t think of myslef as a stalker. But, my sister said that most people on Facebook do what is known as Facebook stalking at one stage or another. Urban Dictionary defines Facebook stalking as:
An individual who secretly looks up people on facebook, going through albums, comments and personal information to piece together a picture of this person. Potentially developing into an obsession.
Tristan is a facebook stalker, he fs’ed the girl before he went on his date with her. By the time they were eating dinner, he already knew what things she liked and disliked.
I pretty much fit the description above, but I was in denial about being a Facebook stalker until 3 weeks back. Someone at work started telling me about a friend of hers who used to be her flat mate (I’ve never met this friend of hers, but I already knew from Facebook pictures who she was talking about and that they had been flat mates). My colleague went on to tell me that her friend had just recently met an amazing guy (I knew this factoid aswell – from Facebook), and she also told me that her friend is a grade one school teacher (this too, I knew from Facebook). As I sat listening to my colleague tell me all these things that I already knew from Facebook, it hit me like a ton of bricks – I am a Facebook stalker! I had to ‘mmm’ and ‘ahhh’ through the entire conversation, pretending that it was the first time I had heard any of the information she was telling me, when really I would’ve probably told the story better than she did.
So there it is – I am a schizo hypocrital Facebook Stalker – I hate Facebook but I love it. The voyeur inside me just wants to come out to play every once in a little while 🙂