Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Into your life it will creep

I love conspiracy theories. Even better, I love theorists who shoot down other conspiracy theories for being 'too predictable'. Because what conspiracy is predictable? (For example, Lady Di faking her own death? Conspiracy theory fail.)

But man, paranoia is striking quite deep of late. And it has nothing to do with diet pills or 'Saved by the Bell' reruns played in sync with Dark Side of the Moon. Come on, MyLinkedAlumniTwitLifeBookScape, don't you think things are getting a little out of hand?

Years ago, the daughters were on MySpace, and being the concerned parents we were, we joined as well. I got sucked into groups, started a blog, made MyFriends and had MyConversations with people around the world, pulled MyHeists in MyMafia and wrecked MyCar in MyStreetracing. Suddenly, it became all too junior high, and everyone I knew disappeared over to Facebook.
Which is where things actually got a little stalker-like.
Facebook instantly suggested people I hadn't spoken to since high school, or in some cases, elementary school. For better or worse, I've linked to them, and gotten more requests from other people who found them, and I've linked back to the MySpace friends I cared about in the first place, along with some of you, dear readers. As of right now, I only have one person on the list that I can't identify, no matter how many old yearbooks I fan through. What's next? A friend suggested, long ago, that I check out MyLife, whose ads grace the sidebar of Facebook. Why she suggested it, I don't know. But despite my refusal to pay for social networking, and my generally slim participation in the existing social outlets, I still get teaser emails from them, telling me random facts about the people who searched for me. Based on the demographic info they've provided, I can almost guarantee that at least 75% of these people weren't looking for me when they typed my name into a search engine. And it does prove to be less than a perfect marketing tool, when the same four searches come up each time and they all happened two or three years ago.

I'm not opposed to Googling the whereabouts of an ex, or that girl I went on one date with in college, figuring that if they aren't completely hooked up to the matrix by a plug on the back of their skulls, they could be dead, and not all obituaries come up online. Perfectly acceptable to think they couldn't bear to pine their lives away for me anymore. But it doesn't mean I have any interest in reconnecting, I'm usually just curious about their arrest record or death by speeding locomotive.

But when I went to delete the MyLife spam the other day, I noticed it was different. Instead of "Look who's searching for you", they've added a twist: "Look who's searching for your significant other!" Think your spouse is cheating? Confirm that by throwing their junior high school boyfriend at them during a fight. "Who's this 23-year-old Male in Branson that searched for you in 2006?" That's constructive. Because if someone searches for you, obviously it's because you sent out that 'I'm available and yearning for your 7th grade hotness all over again...' vibe.

Just because I can eat an entire pumpkin pie in one sitting doesn't mean I should. Just because I can add bacon to something for .25 doesn't mean I should (but yes, I should, really.) Just because you have access to the Internet 24/7 doesn't mean you have to seek out those long-lost romances or the fat kid you picked on in 3rd grade. Stop making the planet smaller.

In theory, preying on people's innate paranoia isn't wrong, I just want in on the action. If I'd thought up CreepyStalkerInYourCloset.com, for example, I'd want advertisers to cough up big bucks. (And for the record, I did think up CreepyStalkerInYourCloset.com, I demand credit for it and all subsequent ideas contained in this paragraph.) People could go on there and search through the deleted items folder on their stalkee's computer, looking for keywords like 'I love my stalker' or 'she's the only one who gets me' or those shower photos that accidentally showed nipple (while they were afraid to wash their hair). You could then link to everyone linked to your victim love interest, to stalk take an interest in them, too. Make sure they're not unhealthy influences on your stalkee, suggesting such ridiculous things as 'restraining orders' and 'witness protection'.

But make sure you keep it safe and above-board, people. Because if you do step out of line, maybe 'the man'
will come to take you away. Then you'd better hope they offer Internet privileges in the pokey, and that CreepyStalkerInYourCloset.com isn't blocked.


Nej said...

I had one guy request to be my friend. I thought I knew him....friended him.....then found out he was an 80 year old male, not related...no clue who he is. So, I de-friended him. (Is that even a word?)

Strange man sent me a message the next day mad that I wasn't his friend any more.

Went on a rant about how he has some sort of dementia, or memory issues, or something.

Didn't make me feel any better. :-)

Love pumpkin pie, love bacon...but I might have to draw the line at combining them.

Not that I wouldn't try it...at least once. :-)

Elliott said...

I actually just rewrote that sentence, I didn't realize (in my rant-induced tunnel vision) that I suggested adding bacon to pumpkin pie.

Though now that you mention it, it just might work...

'De-friend' is a word in this crazy, mixed-up, shook-up world of Internettedness.

And if he had dementia and memory issues, how did he even remember that you were his friend in the first place?

Nej said...

People are going to read my first comment and think "what the hell is she smoking? Bacon ON pumpkin pie? Huh???"

I love it! :-) :-)

Elliott said...

Unless they read your blog...then they'll ask "what the hell is she drinking?"

Nej said...

touché :-)

Sarah J. Bradley said...

I have facebook contacts from high school. (My high school hell experience is well documented.) Now I can watch my tormentors as they scratch their heads, bewildered as to why their children, now in high school, are being tormented by other evil teens. I love karma! Does that make me evil?

tracey said...

I regularly weed through my friend list on Facebook & cull the herd. How's that for mixing metaphors? Some I've added b/c I was curious & purely a voyeur i.e. "Is she fatter than me?" or "Did she marry that loser?" I don't add a lot of extras b/c my general rule is if we aren't friends in real life, we aren't friends on Facebook. I make an exception for old friends from high school since I don't even live in the same country any more. I'm a crappy friend in real life, I don't need FB to remind me I need to "reconnect with ..." nor do I need them to "suggest" I become friends with someone who is a friend of a friend.

One of the bloggers I follow, Jamie the Very Worst missionary said this:
"The weird thing about this social networking thingy isn't how much people stalk, it's how much they want to BE stalked..."JamieTheVWM

'nuff said.

Daisy said...

The social networking thing just keeps mushrooming. I honestly don't know how some people can keep up with it all or even why they would want to try. There are lots of folks from high school and my past that I didn't particularly enjoy the company of back then. I can't imagine why I would want to reconnect with them now.

Bev said...

I get random requests from strangers all the time, which I reject (of course). I am slightly more careful about who I befriend on FB than I am everywhere else because I have photos of the kids and, where I live, etc. That is the reason why I don't put a FB badge on my blog.

I make exceptions for those blog pals whom I've gotten to know well through email. You, of course, made the cut, Elliott!

I also admit to saying yes to just about anyone I went to school with ever, even if I barely remember them. I think it's neat to see what they're up to but wouldn't classify it as stalking since I don't care enough to actually visit their profiles or look at their pics, etc. Since I come from a very small town, I just consider it neighborly to let them into my life on this level.

MtnMama said...

I agree that having a child colors my level of participation in all things Webby. I am bemused by FB suggestions because my high school experience was so bad that by senior year I'd engineered it so that I only had to attend for 3 hours a day, which would have caused my friends to envy me, had I had more than two.
My most recent message was from my junior high boyfriend whom I broke up with, resulting in him not talking to me throughout high school. He's married now but took time out of his busy day to tell me how young and great I still look. bleck.

Samsmama said...

I added what I thought was my nephew. Turned out to be some dude in Texas. I've never deleted him, and was *this close* to telling him I was sorry when he lost his job. I don't know why I keep him around, but I do.

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Is it bad that when I see those "who's staling your profile?" ads I just pray that they are spam so that if my ex-boyfriend or someone decides to join up, he or whoeverelseimighttakeansemiunhealthyinterestin doesn't know how often I indulge myself by looking his or whoever's beautiful photos?!


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