So, I’m sitting here in the library. I have 2 assignments due on Friday that I’ve barely even looked at. Stressed out of my mind. What am I doing?
Stalking people on social media.
I bet you have a lot of thoughts regarding that statement. I mean, firstly: A.J. Get off your damn phone, you have assignments to do. Secondly: why are you STALKING people? Like, that’s super intense even for you. But think about it. When are we not stalking people on social media? We’ve reached the point when we have developed apps actively allowing people to monitor what we’re doing at any given time. We’ve coined the term ‘Facebook Stalking’ to justify our behavior when it comes to surveilling others. Yet, we never really stop to consider just how far our actions could be considered stalking. When does surveillance on social media cross the line and become stalking?
According to an article written by Daniel Trottier, he classifies surveillance on social media into two categories. There’s Facebook “creeping” or “a milder version of stalking”, and Facebook “stalking”, which is observing and attaining content on Facebook with an express interest to monitor another person (Trottier, 2012). By labelling these actions in a negative light, it’s almost as if we’re frowning upon the task of perusing through other people’s content on social media. Despite this, it’s still an incredibly socially acceptable
form of procrastination everyday task.
In a study conducted surrounding the relationship between relationships and surveillance on social media, it was determined that an extremely common theme is that of monitoring former partners. “Preoccupied and fearful exes retain access to their former partners’ lives. Maintaining this virtual connection with one’s ex may enhance feelings of uncertainty about the future of a relationship that, without social media, may have had a clearer and more certain ending” (Fox and Warber, 2014).
While I’ve certainly highlighted many of the issues and problems surrounding surveillance on social media, we can’t deny the somehow addictive and positive qualities it holds. Down to the sharing of cat videos, events,
drunken Snapchat stories, memes, and even ideas that we wouldn’t otherwise see if we didn’t allow ourselves a bit of freedom to stalk other people on social media. Besides, given that we allowed ourselves to have accounts on social media and constantly share what we’re doing/thinking/feeling with other, aren’t we also conceding to being stalked by others.
So, when it all comes down to it. We’re all stalkers and we’re all being stalked. It’s the new circle of life on a digital scale. Instead of being eaten by lions, we’re being consumed by the amount of time we dedicate to social media. That was a metaphor and a half. But seriously, from one stalker to another: it’s all ok. We all do it. It’s nothing to be ashamed about.
(Plz stalk me @HeyHeyHeyItsAJ on Twitter or sarahellwood14 on Snapchat for quality
drunken stories #shamelessplug)
Trottier, D. (2012). Interpersonal surveillance on social media. Canadian Journal of Communication, 37(2), 319-332.
Fox, J, and Warber, K. (2014). Social Networking Sites in Romantic Relationships: Attachment, Uncertainty, and Partner Surveillance on Facebook. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(1): 3-7.
Bajada, D. (2017). “Girl, whatchu doin?”.
Ellwood, A. (2017). “I Facebook stalk myself when I think no one’s watching”.