Stalking has become socially acceptable.
It’s no longer strange or perverted to hide in your chosen one’s bushes with night vision goggles, watching their every move. It’s totally commonplace to post the odd letter to your stalkee (yep, I said “stalkee”), detailing how you would spend the rest of your lives together.
OK, maybe not. But you can follow someone’s life obsessively on Facebook without anyone batting an eyelid.
Urban Dictionary has this to say on creeping:
“The act of scrolling through pictures, wall-to-walls, videos, and general information on Facebook profiles of people whom one would not normally talk to in person.”
The fact that the word has tonnes of variations also indicates its acceptability – one can creep, and therefore be a creep or a creeper (the latter being a more favourable term, I find) – the term has even been parodied in a comedy song by The Lonely Island. I like to sing it on occasion.
I personally think it’s rather strange. There are people I can’t say I’ve talked to much ever, yet I know everything about their existence. Who they’re seeing, which clubs they go to, how broke they are…When I meet them in real life, I get the funny feeling that they know. They know I know all about them. Did I just let something slip? Did I say “yeah I know” when I really should have said “gee golly gosh this is BRAND NEW INFORMATION!”?
Stranger still is thinking that some people may be watching my life like that. Creeping is all well and good until you imagine someone creeping on you. Then the paranoia sets in and you find yourself scrolling through your tagged photos and wall posts frantically, thinking: “Do I appear to be a mentally healthy/attractive human being?”
Worse again: social networking has unlocked a whole new way for employers to vet potential employees. A study carried out by a jobs website found that one in five employers turn to social networks to provide extra information on interviewees. They mostly look for information on drug or alcohol use, inappropriate photos and posts badmouthing former employers. Though really, if you are stupid enough to be all “Oh man, I was OUT OF MY MIND on coke last night” on Facebook, you should not have a job. Or a life.
Still, I believe that your personal life is your personal life, to some extent. As long as you can prove that you will show up to work and do your job correctly, whatever you do in your time off is your own business. I mean, what did they do before Facebook? They hired a person, gave them a chance, and if they were crap at the job they fired them. None of this faffing about on the Internet trying to make sure that a candidate was the second coming of Mother Teresa before they offered a position.
If any potential employer looked at my Facebook all they would find was 700+ pictures of me gurning plus a collection of my thoughts on things like food and that video of the slow loris with a tiny umbrella. Let them find something un-hire-able about that. Being possibly the most harmless person alive has its perks.