If my last post represented the angel on your shoulder, well, this one would have to be considered the devil. While the angel is whispering “do the right thing, don’t investigate the Facebooks’ of other people!” The devil is whispering, “come on, everybody does it, just this once, just for a few minutes. You'll feel better about yourself.” Pretty soon, the devil wins and you’re up until 4:00 am looking through every single Timeline you can find for someone talking about you. They never actually are, but it never hurts to check. Your grades slip, your boss fires you, and your significant other stops loving you, all because you got too happy uncovering new information. Is that the way it always has to end? Of course not! Here are reasons why you need to start gather more information, not less:
1. Information Is Power
Guess what? If you aren’t looking through everyone’s Facebook, someone else is and they will certainly use that information for their own benefit. While you’re out having fun and maintaining a life, they’re at home in their dimly lit basement planning your demise. That’s right. You may think your best friends like you now, but just when you think you have nothing to fear, this creep is Facebook chatting with them behind your back. He’s telling them everything they want to hear so they’ll hang out with him more and you less. She’s poking your boyfriend on Facebook to lure him to poke her back. And everyone knows when a guy pokes a girl back, well, it’s on.* He even goes one step further and Facebook stalks the boss so he can brown nose better and he doesn't even work where you do! We all want to be this person. We all can be if we would spend less time around people and more time online rifling through pictures.
2. The Ex isn’t going to stalk themselves
Picture this: You’ve just broken up and you’re craving to get this person back. They claim that you’re too clingy, but you’ll show them by obsessing twice as much! Following their every Facebook click is step one. Whenever they “like” something, you’ll be there. Whenever they comment on anything, you’ll be notified. Naturally, since you’ve just broken up, anything and everything they say must insidiously** be referring to you. Even things as benign as, “Hey! I haven’t seen you in forever, let’s hang soon,” have secret meanings. Translated, that comment really means: “Hey! I broke-up with my lover so I have all of this free time. I wanted to talk to you because I’ve exhausted every single one of my friends with the stories about how absolutely terrible my ex is. Text me!” See how it would be worthwhile to know that piece of vital information?
Even if you don’t actually want to get back together with the person, everyone needs a self-esteem boost. It’s nice to keep up with an ex to make sure they’re not doing better than you in anything. Hopefully they’ll post pictures of themselves writing love letters to you sealed with a pink heart. You know the old saying "the best revenge is living well?" How will you know you're doing better than your ex if you don't follow their every move?
3. You’ll Seem Smarter
Since you’ll be constantly looking for new information about the whereabouts of others, you’ll know what’s going on all the time. When someone buys their morning coffee or posts their opinion about how yogurt is the new black, you’ll know. Bring this stuff up in conversation and you’ll look like an absolute genius. If anyone asks how you know, well, say you had a feeling something was up or that you just know. Smart people don’t need sound reasoning to back up their gut instincts. Besides, it’s cool knowing everything first.You also get first dibs on when one of your distant, distant friends has changed their relationship status. You get to play the detective and investigate why their relationship is now "Complicated." If you minded your own business, life wouldn't be very exciting.
4. Protect You From Yourself on First Dates and Beyond
You remember my cautionary tale. When one Facebook stalks before a first date, one gets burned faster than a Menorah candle***, but there is a right way to do it. As some of you may have guessed, I do have something of a service where I will befriend the person you are going on a date with, do a complete Facebook background check, and then get back to you with a summary and my conclusions on this person. The caveat is that I might not be able to stop myself when I give you my debriefing because I think the information I found out is so cool, so it is a bit of a double-edged sword. I let you know relationship history, attractiveness through the years, a general personality profile, and then a general grade on all 2,000 of her pictures. I don’t charge anything since I get the gift of knowing I made someone’s day. Upon request, I will also go one further if a guy has recruited me to help him gather information about a girl. I am willing to hit on her and see if she takes my bait. If she does, I let you know the bad news. I know, I know, my generosity knows no bounds.
Kidding aside, there is some value to getting a cursory overview of a potential suitor’s tastes. Don’t go overboard and then research everything they enjoy, but if they “Like” Whips and Chains or “beating up my boyfriend and stealing all of his money,” well, you know what you’re getting into. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Ignorance might be bliss.
Honestly, I don’t know which side sounded more convincing nor do I know which side I’m on anymore. The author wrote about both sides so eloquently.
* As an aside here, I don’t know what I am supposed to do when a guy pokes me. Do I start a conversation with him? Do I ignore him? What if I see him the next day and the tension is thick because I didn’t respond to “the poke?” My failure to act could result in some serious collateral damage.
** Big, complicated word, I know. I should probably consider college or something.
*** Admittedly, that isn’t very quickly, especially in my house where we regularly forget to light the Menorah, however, I figured this post needed something Jewish.