If you’re anything like me, you’ve engaged in a little digi-stalking every now and then. Social networks like Facebook, make it easier than ever to check up on all those people from your past. You know, “those” people – the high school bully who made your every waking teenage moment a living hell. Or how about the friend in college who marched to his own drummer and never really fit in? The Internet makes it tempting to track down all those people that make up the very fabric of your past. And it can be quite addictive.
Thanks to the power of the Internet, there is new meaning to the phrase “Keeping up with the Jones’s.” Back in the day, many people only felt a need to keep up with the people in their own neighborhood. If your neighbor bought a new car, you followed suit with a better car. If your neighbor bought a duck-billed platypus, you followed suit with an equally exotic creature. However, the sheer girth of online social networks has many of us competing to be better than dozens of our friends and even hundreds of theirs.
Within a matter of seconds, you can quickly determine just how well your friend’s have “done” in their lives up until the present. Let’s face it, new cars and beautiful houses are par for the course when it comes to sharing your lives online. Kids, jobs, houses and cars are amongst the very first things that we share with one another. It’s almost like you haven’t done anything with your life unless you can prove it on a social network.
For this reason, it is easy to become absorbed in the lives of those faces from the past and turn into a digi-stalker. I once thought I was too sophisticated to spy on someone’s life. Granted, I kept up with the status feeds of friends and family members on Facebook, but I certainly did not dig or delve any further, even though the information was probably somewhere within my grasp.
This all changed one day recently when I stumbled on a friend’s feed that was celebrating the wedding anniversary of the nerdiest guy in my high school and the homecoming queen. Say what? How could a decade pass without my knowing this information? I immediately felt an urgency to stop by their pages, which just so happened to be public. I searched both feverishly and with great passion. I had to find what rhyme or reason brought these two polar opposites together.
I spent the greater part of two hours unraveling their professions, scouring their photo albums and just taking in every ounce of information I could find. When all was said and done, I was satiated and totally annoyed with myself. I had indulged in an activity that countless people around the world do every day. I mean, what’s the point of being part of a social network if you are not “social,” right? Truth be told, there is nothing social about being a digi-stalker. In fact, it’s downright scary. After learning just how easy it was to stalk someone online, I realized that perhaps I had been a bit too liberal in the information I shared about my family online. And I took immediate steps to rectify that.
Mine was a short foray into the world of digi-stalking. These days, I stick to my status feed and do my utmost to avoid snooping. Of course, most people WANT their friends to check out all of those things that they’ve worked so hard to achieve. But, in the end, they are just things, and not worthy of pause unless they hold some special meaning in your life.