Monday, September 10, 2012

When Facebook Stalking Is a Horrible Idea

The Companion Piece on Why Facebook Stalking is an Awesome Idea is: Here.

This might be the marquee debate of our time. Scratch that, this is the marquee debate of our time. While politicians are out there focusing on meaningless subjects such as the budget, gun control, health care, and all of that other stuff, they completely miss the boat on this. There would be a lot more interest in politics if they would focus on fun topics such as this one. Before further ado, let’s dive right in!*

First, what is Facebook stalking? I define it as one person covertly looking in on, and likely gathering information about, another person. In other words, it is the favorite habit of formerly married couples along with watchers of MTV. In other, other, words, most people have done it at least once, and others have done it thousands of times even though they have fewer than 250 Facebook friends.** Let’s examine the reasons why this practice is more dangerous than tickling a grizzly bear:

1. It can completely screw up a date

One of the proposed uses of Facebook stalking is to get some information about a future date. The logic is sound. You’re nervous, you want the date to go well, and thus, you virtually mozie on over to his/her Facebook and gather some information. What have they “Liked,” how many friends do they have, and do they actually look as good as they did when you asked them out, or were they just having a really, really, good day?*** Unfortunately, this can go more sour than a gallon of milk left out in the sun for a week. Here is one example from my life:

Back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I met a girl, we’ll call her Michelle****, and we exchanged numbers and Facebooks. The subsequent phone calls and chats went incredibly well and we had setup a date for a couple of days later. Little did she know, she had lured in quite a catch as this was before I was ranked the best movie theater usher in the world. I figured a harmless couple of minutes looking through her Facebook would do me some good and I would have some topics to discuss on the date. Well, that went worse than trying to fill a gas tank with vegetable broth.

Quickly, I got lured in. I memorized all of her favorite movies and then Wikipedia’d each of them so I’d be able to act like I’d seen them since I would have the plots in hand. I did the same with her favorite bands and I listened to each band’s key songs. This was going to be great. What could possibly go wrong?

I jumped at the opportunity when she started talking about a movie she had seen. I regaled her with the plot, some of the key lines, and I knew the actors names. Then she asked the question that would kill our relationship before it started, “oh, so you’ve seen the movie?” Noooo! What should I say? That I had seen it? But that would be a lie, and lies are bad and starting a relationship based on a lie sounds like a horrible idea. Tell her the truth? Oh yeah, girls love it when you do tons of research on them and comb through their Facebook. All marriages start like that. Well, I essentially decided not to decide. I changed the subject - to music. The same problem propped up and I couldn’t decide what to tell her. The moral of the story: Don’t Facebook stalk on first dates.*****

2. EXes will get you every time

This is probably why most Facebook stalking occurs. We want to check-up on the ex. You know, pretend like we only want them to be happy, but secretly hoping they are posting thousands of statuses about how awesome you were. The problem is, this never, ever, ends well. The ex always seems to bounce right back and marry someone who makes more than minimum wage or who knows what a button-down shirt is. Even if they seem to be single, it always seems like they’re constantly surrounded by members of the opposite sex and they’re always writing flirty, sexually suggestive comments on their Timelines.

The pictures are even worse. People only post pictures of them doing things and being happy. They don’t post pictures of themselves going to Wendy’s and crying endlessly while drying their tears with a hamburger bun because you’re gone. They post pictures of themselves smiling and laughing even if they're mentally jumping off a bridge. Seriously, Facebook stalking an ex never ends well. Even when it does, it doesn’t. Let's say the ex does post pictures of their misery? Then you're the bad guy because you're taking pleasure in someone else's misery. Besides, all of the comments will probably be about how she's better off without you anyway.

3. Close Family and Friends Are Scary

I am here to warn you as someone who has treaded into these water: you don’t want to know. Really. All of these people can keep telling me sweet little lies because their actual lives scare the living stuffing out of me. Seeing your Grandma out clubbing because she’s playing the field is not fun. Hearing about the sex lives of family members and parents is troubling. Listening to your best friend post status after status about this secret girl he's been dating when your significant other is mysteriously missing... The list goes on and on. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Did I convince you never to Facebook stalk anyone ever again or did I simply encourage you to go against my warnings and Facebook stalk twice as hard? Get ready for the other side of this debate in the next week or so.



* Some of you (all four of my readers) may be scratching your heads right now wondering how I, of all people, could possibly come out against Facebook stalking. “Josh!” You might exclaim, “weren’t you the one who allegedly created a fake name, friended people on Facebook, and then typed out a summary of their Facebook whereabouts to various people?” I have no comment.

** Shocked? You shouldn’t be. Practically everyone from the World’s Greatest Movie Theater Usher to your Mother’s cat has done it. Yep, when you’re not feeding Fluffy premium cat food, he wonders what you really spend your money on. He goes on Facebook, sees you in that new dress that cost $1500 and begins plotting your demise. In fact, someone is probably gathering information on you right now.

*** This is reason number one to not post bad pictures of yourself on Facebook. If they get posted, de-tag yourself within five seconds. If you wait until the next day, everyone will have seen on their news feeds and your attractiveness will forever be downgraded.

**** I like to believe that if Michelle Branch met me, she’d fall in love. To prepare myself for this extremely likely occurrence, I pretend all of the girls I have dated in the past are named Michelle so that when we do get married, I’m so used to being in a relationship with a Michelle. There are absolutely no flaws in my logic.

***** One would think that the date had to have been better than that considering everything was going so well before that and nothing worse could have possibly gone wrong. When we went to kiss, I forgot how to kiss, and while I was thinking about it, we experienced the most awkward 20 seconds in kissing history.   

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