Are you turning into a #Social #Media #Stalker?

2016-07-06There is a thin line between casually dating online and becoming dangerously infatuated. We give you the tell-tale signs of fatal attraction.
We live in an era where anybody is available at the click of a button – literally. Social media has given us unprecedented access to other people’s lives on where they are at, what they are eating, who they are seeing – often with their consent. Unfortunately, it also paves the way for the two-pronged trishul of stalking: tracing down a person, and obsessively trailing their life.
So what are the signs that you are turning into a stalker?
It’s OK if you ‘like’ a post or two by your online acquaintance or friend. Finding common interests and hobbies isn’t uncommon and social media brings out the most empathetic side of us even by attracting us to causes that affect us or our peers. But when you give a thumbs up to everything this person shares on their wall, and religiously visit his/her profile daily to be sure their online shares aren’t lost or ignored, you’re in creepy territory.
Obtaining information about somebody before it’s shared by this person is classic stalker behaviour. Picture this, you’ve added the recently-joined PYT interning with your firm on Facebook. Instead of getting to know her by striking a conversation over that water-cooler banter, you decide to go through all her online posts and photos of the last year (even the year before?). Now, you know her relationship status, her favourite cupcake, her ideal holiday destination, and even “which animal she is most likely to be”. While you may feel you’re just getting to know her and might even sense a misplaced sense of connection, you could be getting too close for comfort.
Social media stalkers are often unable to distinguish between the real world and the virtual one. For example, if you notice that your childhood crush has announced her interest in or accepted a group invitation to attend a certain weekend music gig, you decide to show up at this gig yourself. And then, after thoroughly scanning the venue, when you finally spot her with her friends, you go up to her and pretend to be surprised to see her there. If you’ve been in such a scenario or can see yourself being in one, then you, my friend, need help. From a professional.
Be it your ex-girlfriend, your prospective date, or just some girl you’ve been “following” online, if finding her “tagged” with a stranger in a post is enough to trigger your curious bone, them bunnies are waiting to get boiled! That is, only if you spend the next hour going this guy’s profile, turning over his posts to draw up a character sketch, and finally going through his friend list for a final analysis of his social life. It’s not casual urban anthropology. It’s pathological obsession that needs to be corrected.
Social media posts range from the frivolous (the omelette you whipped up on Instagram) to the furrowedbrowed (that ‘intense’ socio-political rant). But while it is for public consumption, giving it any more thought or trying to read too much into it (or perhaps even acting on it) are red flags. So, if your muse has posted “I love donuts” on her Facebook and you leave a box of impaled dough balls at her desk, your sweet gesture is a bitter sign…that you’re crossing a line.
Scorned or not, once a relationship ends, mulling over the beautiful union seems like the natural thing to do. But while at it, if you spend hours going through the photos that spell “better times” and then go on to her more recent photos where you don’t figure, it is a cause for concern. So, once you call it quits, let your ex be and this means her social media profile too. And in stalker-terms, three months is long enough.
If you message someone on one medium and don’t receive a reply, and if you’re using Gtalk, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp and SMS to send the same message, you’re not getting the message: it’s over. Stop banging a closed door. Seek help.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s