What’s one of the most popular things to do on Facebook? Stalk your exes. Well, ‘stalk’ may be overstating it. How about we call it ‘spy’. Or ‘eavesdrop’. Or even ‘revisit’. Journalist Alissa Warren writes:
“Breaking up in the age of social media is so much more complex than it used to be. Once upon a time it was all, girl-met-boy, girl-dated-boy, girl-broke-up-with-boy, girl-mooched-around-for-a-while-and-then-met-another-boy. And so on.
But now? NOW? Polish up your armor because the rules in Splitsville are more complicated than Lady Gaga. It’s no longer a simple division of CD’s and returning each other’s belongings. Now you can secretly, privately and compulsively spy on your ex, see photos of what they’re doing, where they’re going and who they’re hanging out with. You can also see when they hook up with someone new and change their relationship status.
For a clean split, with no lurking stalkers – one must completely Unfriend and Unfollow. After all, you don’t want them to know what you’re doing. And you SHOULDN’T want to know what they’re doing. And this is where things get stickier than Justin Timberlake’s hair. Because if you’re doing a little tappedy-tapping on a lonely Sunday night and suddenly … oops! … you’ve stumbled onto your ex’s Facebook page – you’re opening yourself up to a problem. Nay, an addiction. And it’s said to be as bad as online gambling. It’s called silent stalking and if you’re doing it, the only really good news is – you’re one of millions.
Breaking up. Never easy. Never nice. In person, email, text, phone. Doesn’t matter how you do it – it’s all icky. But there’s always something quite sickeningly thrilling about the post-break-up phase. A little sticky-beaking. A little Facebook digging. And even if you don’t really want to ‘dig’ … you just want to brush a little dust off … oh, the temptation!
Before Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Co. stepped on the scene we wouldn’t obsess so much about what an ex was doing … but rather what they MAY be doing.
My friend Kate spent much of 1995 doing a nightly drive-by of her ex’s apartment to see if, um, his light was on.
Another friend, Sal, weirdly and coincidentally chose all the same uni subjects as her old boyfriend and ended up majoring in … nothing … but stalking. And I can’t count the amount of friends who’s hearts thumped at the very thought of a prank call.
Today, these harmless but potentially psychotic behaviours are all but extinct.
The bored, the curious and the love-sick can find answers. 24/7. Facebook stalking is the new ‘knock n’ run’. A UK study has found around a third of victims are men. Women = worst offenders. Dr Emma Short from the University of Bedfordshire found some women send constant unwanted messages and set up fake accounts to draw an ex-beau into friendship in an effort to linger and lure.
There’s no doubt, when it comes to boyfriends-past, girlfriends can gossip longer and louder than Kath and Kim. “Have you seen his new profile picture?” “have you read his Wall?” and maybe even “did you see him in those Mardi Gras photos?” (apart from the last. That happened to a girlfriend and I couldn’t resist the addition).
And like the rest of the world, your ex has the ability to share everything online from childbirth snaps (yes. Believe it. Some people share everything. Literally. There should be some sort of warning on those albums) to posts about one’s various stages of man-flu (yawn). But do we need to be connected forever? Let’s find that line. And the sand. And start drawing.
Unfriend your ex. Because while you’re blissfully dancing through life like you’re in a AAMI commercial – your ex or your latest snog-and-jog could be watching your every move. And it’s either turning into coffee table material or something much worse. Better still – if you’re addicted – log off. It’s the new way of saying “rip up their business card”. Sure, you’ll be minus an official ‘friend’ but you’ll be giving them back their freedom … and best of all, yours.”
And here is a brilliant song by Kate Miller-Heidke about exes on Facebook…
[youtube QeTPNjPiyJM 640 390]
Are you friends with an ex on Facebook? Are you guilty of stalking their page?