One “Like” Too Many

How the modern age has made information easily accessible to anyone

Why is there such a stigma against Facebook stalking? Let’s face it: I stalk, you stalk, we all stalk. And I don’t believe people who say that they don’t Facebook stalk because they have lives. The two have nothing to do with each other, especially since we can multitask like no other generation. So why is it that when we talk about stalking with each other, we always have to apologize or somehow compensate for our stalking? For example: “So I know this is creepy, but I was Facebook stalking him the other day,” or “I couldn’t help but notice your conversation on your wall…not to be a creeper or anything.”

Facebook stalking is the process of proactively going to someone’s profile for no particular reason and scrolling through their photos, wall posts, personal information, or any combination of these. The people who stalk strangers perhaps perpetuate this label. And by “people,” I mean everyone who has a Facebook because let’s face it: we all stalk those “friends of friends.”

But in an age where surveillance cameras monitor the streets, and Google Maps has a three dimensional picture of your house available for the general public’s perusal, is looking through a set of pictures that you willingly put up for other people to view really that creepy?

Technology is slowly redefining our idea of personal space and personal information. I’ll give it to you—ten years ago, it would have been extremely creepy to know someone’s birthday, hometown and favorite books after ten seconds of friendship. However, as Facebook has given us access to these morsels of information, we have normalized the knowledge without changing our definition of “creepy.” So now we’re stuck with a generation of stalkers-in-denial who should really just be….stalkers.

And there is nothing wrong with being a stalker, for the sole reason that Facebook stalking is not exactly the most personal experience. In fact, I really think that “Facebook stalking” is a misnomer for our procrastination habits. I mean, why learn about acid-base titrations or the Industrial Revolution when you can learn about other people? Stalking is not so much about the Stalked as it is about the Stalker. I guess we somehow feel productive when continually clicking the right arrow for the next picture (it does, after all, sound like you’re actually typing your English paper).

But besides our personal reasons for stalking, the structure of Facebook encourages us to be overly-knowledgeable of the people around us (to put it nicely). If you watched The Social Network, you’ll know that founder Mark Zuckerberg built Facebook for this purpose. In fact, I’ll say that he did some major stalking himself when he hacked into Harvard’s network to get pictures of all the students. Basically, the Facebook experience in its entirety is one mess of “creepy” stalking. So why are we so embarrassed by our tendencies to stalk when, by signing up for an account, we have branded ourselves stalkers already?

So I propose that we stalk and that we stalk proudly. Don’t be ashamed to say that you spent some time last night scrolling through a friend’s profile. Don’t call yourself a creeper. Because in this day and age, you’re just one in 500 million.

-Kristin