by Sowjanya M
How do you feel when someone peeps into your newspaper while you are reading it in a train or sitting at a park?
How do you feel when someone peeps into your mobile phone while you are watching a movie/reading something/texting/checking photos on your mobile phone while you are in a public place, not just that, be it at your college or workplace?
Eyeing on others data. Being nosy in others business. Bad curiosity. Prying.
Long ago, in the good old days, before the rise of social media, if you wanted to show pictures of your friends to someone, you had to dig deep into the records of Google account or Hotmail account or the Yahoo account in order to view their profile picture or if you were lucky, maybe they even had a blogsite.
This is what the unintended version of online stalking looked like some years ago or a little more than a decade ago. Nevertheless, with the derivation of social media, this has significantly changed from inoffensive to injurious. With websites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, have made you aware of someone’s every move – whether they intend for you to know or not.
Social media and smartphones have proved that age is just a number. Almost everyone from teenagers to adult and elderly people use social media and smartphones. Now people are not miles away or far away, we all are just a call away or a touch/click/swipe away! Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant will also reach to us by call or text.
Social Media is the hub of all the stalking, especially Facebook. Be it posts, pictures or check-ins, it is utterly easy to find out what another person is up to if they are very active on the respective platform. People often stalk their former partners to find out whom they are dating now or they stalk acquaintances, or then friends and now enemies to find something controversial or worth gossiping about. The Facebook check-ins have often caused burglary at the respective individual’s residence as it clearly gives a message that the entire family is away from home. Posting pictures of the little ones and many other pictures by the elderly people at home as often caused conflicts between all the adults at home, some may post without permission and some people might not be happy to see some pictures on a social media as they think it is a mere family affair or personal business.
Instagram is mostly the app where people share pictures and stories with short videos/text/pictures. People all around the world use Instagram to set trends that are mostly superficial to increase followers. Now that Instagram and Facebook have the story features in common, it is yet another pointless photo journal for one to keep. Sometimes, it is good to stay away from social media, it is not about being secretive, and it is rather choosing not to involve others in your business and tolerant about not being in limelight.
One of the biggest problems with social media today is the amount of passive information that is available. For example, if I post a photo to my Facebook or Instagram account, even with privacy settings intact, I am at the mercy of how my followers interact with my post. Someone may endlessly ‘like’ a photo or comment on them, but to someone who is stalking or paying extra attention to a particular social media account; they have already created their own description of the situation. Perhaps you are guilty of this behavior yourself. Entering the unhealthy social media stalking.
Apparently, your online stalking behavior is prompted by curiosity, excitement, or suspicion, the bottom line is the same: You want information. Moreover, when there is a gap between the information you have and the information you want, uncertainty is born. Most of us do not even realize that we have become harmless stalkers even though we might have no intentions to do so. This in turn lands us in troubled waters.
The first step in helping you to create healthy new habits around social media usage is to ask yourself why you want more information in the first place. Never discount your feelings – they are always trying to tell you something. You cannot control what someone else posts, why not control what you can see? Instead of creating boundaries with others, it is best to create boundaries with yourself.
So next time you have the urge to stalk someone on social media, ask yourself this: do I need more information, or do I just want more? At the end of the day, it takes the same amount of effort to feel good as it does to feel bad, so choose your behaviors wisely!
These are the days where a person’s success and happiness is measured by the pictures and status posted by them. A person is defined by status, post, vacation pictures, stories, etc. More often than not, usually, one of two things will happen when your social media stalk: you will put the pieces of the puzzle together incorrectly or you will encounter information that is not emotionally useful. Reading between the lines will not always be beneficial.
The easy access to another person’s life with a simple click of a mouse sitting right at home is widespread that has overdone throughout the world and there are no signs of the possibility of getting rid of it. If lives are compared by the pictures, check-ins, and stories posted on social media, then we all have to take a moment, sit back, and think is it really right to do so. Comparison is good but this is not the right yardstick and we all have to learn to take comparisons with a pinch of salt.
About the Author:
Sowjanya M is a software tester by profession and lives in Bengaluru. She is passionate about writing and her penchant for writing has helped voice her opinions by writing blogs on various topics and views on her blog site.