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A stalker by any other name is still a stalker

Webster’s dictionary defines ‘stalk’ as (isn’t this how all your creative writing essays in college began LOL) the ‘act of pursuing quarry or preying stealthily,’ among other definitions such as the main stem of a herbaceous plan, but that is irrelevant to my post (intrigued to look at other definitions, then go find that damn dictionary and look it up yourself). Anywho, I was surprised the definition of stalk in relation to stalking is kept rather broad and open for interpretation. I expected to look up ‘stalking’ in a legit dictionary and find the definition to be something like ‘creepily following someone – with whom you do not have a healthy/established relationship – around, digging up and documenting information on them which can later be used to easily kidnap them and tie them down in the basement of your otherwise beautiful townhouse where no one will check.’ This clear distinction makes me feel better that I am not, by the definition of the almighty dictionary, a stalker. However, based on the simple definition in the dictionary, the act of pursuing curiosity by looking at information and the virtual paper tail left by some people, especially on social sites like, say, facebook, makes me a total stalker. It is important I state here that my stalking has been limited to facebook and that my house does not have a basement…or an attic for that matter.

Let’s admit it, don’t we all give in to curiosity at some point and just click on that profile picture of someone you don’t really know who has left a witty or stupid or interesting comment on a friend’s picture or wall? Or you pick up someone’s name amidst the gossip stories from earlier in the day and just to “put a face to the stuff you’ve heard” you type in their name in the facebook search field. I have a tendency to look at someone’s profile (usually their pictures I suppose) and then from that page I end up clicking on someone else’s profile, and so on. Sometimes this happens when I visit a page I’ve liked and someone else has liked it as well, and you think ‘oh this person looks good looking *cough*cough* interesting’ and you end up looking at their profile. Now by the vagueness of what ‘stalk’ ‘stalking’ and ‘stalker’ means by written definition, we are all stalkers. Of course by social definition, unless you’re going to use the info you’ve looked up to hatch some sort of evil plan by which you are going to totally manipulate the person, you are not really a stalker, you’re merely a ‘curious’ person. Social networking sites have made it so much easier to bring out that non-murdery/kidnappy stalker in us (this probably also means that real stalkers have kicked it up a notch with the ease of navigating social sites EEEK!), and more often than not, its harmless. Still, it’s a rather unsettling thought when you realize what you’re doing, while completely and totally harmless, still renders you a ‘stalker’ by definition in the dictionary.

On A Side note: while I was writing this post, the thought dawned on me that I might be sharing a bit too much on some of my profiles for social networking sites. This led to a panicked 30minutes of removing addresses, some pictures, and changing the settings to ‘private view only’ on most of my profiles 😦

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