Monday, June 4, 2012

Cyber Stalking

Raise your hands.  Who does it?  C'mon, we all do it.  That's what makes the internet so fascinating - seeing what we can see about others.  Being voyeurs into others lives - or what they or their friends share with us. 

How many of us use filters on Facebook? (Are there even filters on Twitter??)

How many of us have no idea what is out there in the ether about us?

Just spent a half hour tracking an old friend, and her husband, and catching up on her life.  In the old days, didn't we used to pick up the phone? I'll confess, we rarely wrote letters, but perhaps drop an e-mail?  Let them tell us what they want to share with us?  And yet, if you sent me an e-mail and asked me how my life was going, as some friends still do, I would say that there's not much to report.  And yet, clearly, I do have a lot to say and share.  This is why social networking - capturing our lives as we go - can be so helpful in finding out what is really going on.

I have a friend who has an elaborate set of filters on Facebook.  She's really thought through the friend lists, etc.  I'd tell you how many friends she has to filter through, but she wisely has those protected, too.  If the iPhone app would let you select multiple lists when posting from the mobile app, I might be a bit more invested.  I might be a bit more careful with what I post to whom.

I've recently found myself on the outside end of a filter with a friend, and it sucks.  I know that she's posting, but I can't see it now.  Every once in awhile I am with a mutual friend, and when she is looking at Facebook, I can see the posts.  I can see that she is in the inner circle. 

My first Facebook account was created for business.  I was trying to find someone for a client.  This was well before I ended my marriage, and while it was supposed to be a professional account, it quickly became personal as I discovered all of these old friends I hadn't seen in forever.  Some, yes, we might question whether they ever were friends, and some have become friends.  Then I separated from my spouse (that's the sanitized version) and created a separate Facebook account for those who truly were close friends so that they could know that I was okay, and so I didn't have to keep updating people all of the time.

It is an odd thing when you're going through a significant event in your life with everyone asking about it.  It feels nice to have the support but it is hard to let go of the - in this case bad - when you're always forced to rehash it.  But maybe that's a post for another day.

So, initially the new Facebook account was a filter in and of itself.  I only shared it with select people.

It has been hard as I have moved on and grown to let go of that mentality. 

Facebook and Twitter are different. Twitter is a popularity contest - you want as many people to follow you as you can find.  Some have viewed Facebook as a popularity contest, too, racking up "friends" as if they were points in some game.  I've never found myself interested in doing that, and yet, sometimes, with the newly developed friendship with old acquaintances, I wonder what I might be missing out on.

Ah, this is a rambling entry (I will have a few of these).  But catching up on my friend's life.  Missing her and wishing she were sharing it directly with me has got me rambling. 

How many of you stalk?  How many of you truly connect via social networking?  I am getting to know a few of you through Twitter.. 140 characters at at time and a few more when you comment here.

Tell me your social networking stories.  Tell me your cyber-stalking stories.

If you like this, stick around and read other entries.  Hit a few on the right that are favorites, or go to the home page of the blog, and read from beginning to end.  Take a moment to send me some feedback.  Thanks for coming.  Please come back soon.

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