It was never anything serious or illegal. “Stalking” is perhaps too strong a word; it was more like “extreme nosiness”. At the height of my Facebook sleuthing, this is what I’d do:
1. Think of someone who I hadn’t seen in years.
2. Search for their profile on Facebook.
3. Try to figure out what they were doing in life, based on a handful of photos and status updates.
4. Not friend them, after all of that effort.
Here’s the thing about social media stalking: I never looked up anyone that I actually liked, or had a current relationship with. I’m already in touch with the people I love, so why would I stalk them?
The clandestine nature of my Facebook investigations should have hinted to me that I was doing something slightly dodgy. It was something I always did alone and in the middle of the night.
Eventually, curiosity killed the cat. Or rather, my curiosity to find out more about people from my past became… boring.
Watch: Radio host Ben Fordham discusses social media on Mamamia TV. (Post continues after video.)
There was the time I looked up “Elise”, the girl in high school who always seemed fascinating and glamorous to me. I think we all have an ‘Elise’ in our lives – that girl who was into music from the ’60s and could buy an ugly dress from an op shop and make it look incredible.
I’d always imagined she’d make it big in Hollywood somehow, so you can imagine my surprise when I discovered she was just… ordinary. She hadn’t moved from her childhood suburb, she wasn’t doing anything crazy, and she just looked like a normal woman I’d walk past at the shops.
I’d gotten what I wanted, but the answer didn’t satisfy me. I would have preferred to forever wonder about her, rather than know she’d just turned out average.