Look Who’s Stalking, Too.


It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again here. One of the best things about being a blogger,  beyond the simple joy of sharing the messed up stuff in your head with others, is meeting other bloggers online. In a kind of First Contact, alien life is real and we are not alone scenario, we discover that there are other people out there who do what we do, laugh at the same things we do, and share some of the very same messed up ideas. Sometimes, these blog-to-blog meetings, either through the comments sections or via trolling for blog material, lead to like-minded people forming contacts away from the blogs, via email or social network sites such as Facebook, and although existing on-line only these relationships begin to take on a more ‘genuine friendship’ basis. I myself have made several of these connections, and although I have never met these people, I feel I’ve forged links with some of them, be it through online chatting and shooting the breeze or via a more professional mutual respect. Or something.

And with the discovery of these new friendships online comes the inevitable curiosity about what those people are REALLY like. See, the problem with online relationships is that they’re a bit two-dimensional. Text and photos, even if ‘live’ in chat rooms, can only convey so much to you about a person, so unless you’re chatting using a webcam, you naturally begin to wonder to yourself what their voice sounds like, how they move, what the actual person is like in a social situation. Because as human beings, we’re naturally curious about that stuff. We are the most interactive species on the planet, with a thousand and more differing subtle social markers and boundaries, and as we develop a friendship we begin to want this information so we can more accurately categorise our position relative to the other person and so begin to feel at ease with them. In more primitive terms, we need to get the pissing contest out of the way so we can both settle down and feed.

And so it was that one night, when the blog and Facebook were both showing little but tumble-weeds blowing past the metaphorical empty saloon of the Internet, and fuelled by this idle curiosity about others, I accidentally went stalking.

I befriended a woman from America a while back, and both my wife and I had added her on Facebook. Her name and location will not be mentioned here, since my relationship with her is not the focus of this blog, and because privacy is as rare as rocking-horse shit these days. However suffice it to say that my wife and I agreed that we enjoyed chatting to her, and we had some wonderful conversations online about the differences between our countries, words and phrases, food items, fashions and customs and so on and so forth….. And so on this fateful night, I became curious about the place she lived – I know absolutely nothing about American geography, since it could tuck my country in its back pocket (and has done so for a while, but that’s a WHOLE other blog!) and I’ve never been there so frankly couldn’t be arsed to learn much about it. So I had no real framework around which to imagine her possible surroundings, and resorted to cheating. I pulled up GoogleMaps and went for a stroll around her home town.

GoogleMaps is a brilliant, and frankly scary-as-fuck invention. With a rough location, you can go anywhere in the world, zoom down to a street level view, and go strolling around someone’s neighbourhood. True, not every road is included, and its based on photos that are taken some while ago. But its pretty much like being there now. And here’s where this story takes a wonderfully stalker-ish twist. I noticed that she was online. In hindsight it’s fortunate I didn’t scare the living shit out of her, because I IM’d her with something like “Hey, I’m bored so I’m using Googlemap to wander around your town!! LOL!!! I’m stalking you LMAO!!! I’m outside ~@?>:”$%*’s pizza place right now!!!!”

Fortunately, she is a rational woman and realised that I was not, in fact, just around the corner with a step ladder, some wire cutters and a chloroform-soaked rag. But then, to my amazement, she replied with “Oh, that’s literally just down the road from my house”, and proceeded to give me directions to her house. SOOOO…. I GoogleStomped my way uptown and eventually after some navigational fine-tuning, I found myself stood in the street outside her house. What an odd feeling. I could see the mall across the street where she shops, the sandwich place down the street she’d mentioned, and with running commentary from her it was almost like being given a guided tour around her home. And in return, I guided her somewhat more trickily to my house, where she stood outside looking at my lounge window, behind which in real life I was sat at my laptop guiding her in.And then it struck me.

Sure, we were happy to show each other around our respective home towns, and enjoyed seeing the cultural differences between our lifestyles. We were cool. Like Fonzy. And that is very cool. So, no problems – but how amazingly easy it had been to get right into the correct town without any guidance from the other…. we had barely had more than a handful of conversations online, and yet knew exactly where to look for each other’s homes. Kind of scary when you think about it.

The Internet these days is, frankly, a dangerously wide open minefield of information leakage, and even with appropriate security measures and firewalls in place, the amount of information about YOU available online is frankly shocking. Had either myself or my American friend been a genuine stalker/pervert, we’d have found our way into each others neighbourhoods in real 3d picture form, and been able to walk the streets without leaving our homes. Ugh. Creepy feeling up the spine? Check. It made me wonder long and hard about the balance today between the wonderful freedom of information and opinion we all have access to and the consequent breaking down of our personal barriers as we allow more and more free access to our lives. Interaction will always be a two-way street, by its very nature, and you may have less control over that flow of information than you believe.

There’s no real stunning conclusion to today’s short post, more a residual curiosity – have any of you readers had experiences with privacy invasion online? Or have you engaged in any kind of online stalking activity yourselves?? Either way I’d love to hear all about it, or indeed any other thoughts you guys have on this issue. A blog without comments and feedback is not a blog, it’s a rant, so don’t show me up on this one, ok, get involved. Let’s stalk each other for a while……….

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By socialassassin

28 comments on “Look Who’s Stalking, Too.

    • I know. I strongly suspect that their habit of making dancy, sparkly interactive logo screens is purely some diversionary tactic whilst they rape my bank account and defile my family, while I make plinky plonky sounds on a virtual toy piano.

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  1. Also, if it weren’t for our blogs, would we have become better friends than we already are…?

    Social networking/blogging/dogging all bring people together, especially those of us with a like mind.

    I know that has fuck all to do with your blog, really, but I’m just out the door to work.

    And by work, I mean following young girls home.

    Peaces.

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  2. Interesting point. I feel this is true with facebook, hence the need to hopefully only friend those you either are truly friends with or the bitches who looked down at you in high school that you want to show how successful and beautiful you are now with that perfect family, whilst they are on their second divorce.

    With blogging, I think you invite that possible type of attention if you share too much of your personal information. Which is hard to avoid as you are sharing yourself on your blog. I myself, am trying to remain somewhat anonymous on my blog, yet I have already set up a “date” to meet 3 fellow bloggers in a few weeks, thus completely annihilating that aforementioned anonymity. Because I’m brilliant like that.

    I definitely agree that technology has made it far more easy to invite stalkers than ever before because it takes all the work out of it. Someone can just sit on their couch with a computer in one hand, penis in the other, and have atcha, where before it at least took some sort of effort to leave your house, procure binoculars and step ladder and wait for the target to come home. So I’m told. And people are lazy, so that was more of an anomaly then present times.

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    • Undoubtedly you’re right Misty (after all, you’re a woman and they’re ALWAYS right…) and don’t feel bad – I named the site because i wanted to try and remain somewhat anonymous behind the words, but already a few people have been added to my Facebook profile. My ‘real me’ one. So yeah, total privacy fail there. However none of them have tried to stalk me in real life – yet. Shame really, since by complete coincidence I just had all my windows cleaned and took down all my curtains.

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    • Yes, probably best you should. You wouldn’t want to incriminate yourself Jen. First rule of stalking : It’s no fun stalking from behind bars… unless you use Googlemaps, of course. In which case, my home address is… damn, must stop doing that!………….

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        • Misty, are you suggesting my defence needs work?? I don’t want to trouble you, you seem to be becoming the Blogger’s Lawyer recently, and besides my lawyer seems ok … the mouthwash hides his vodka breath most of the time and his suit must be a good one because he couldn’t afford the iron to press it. But if you think I can do better then I eagerly await your advice – bearing in mind of course that I can’t pay you per se .. unless you’re into ‘candid’ telephoto pictures of young women undressing. In which case you are in luck – lots and lots of luck………….

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          • Well, your attorney does seem like an excellent example of lawyerly competence. I would stick with him. However, if you are worried about any proprietary interest anyone might have on my skills, don’t you fret . . . you can pass me around freely, I’m used to it.

            Wait, what?

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            • And there was me thinking that was a vicious rumour put about by those other obviously-not-as-good-as-you lawyers to try and ruin your reputation!! I mean, everyone’s read that comment about you in the men’s toilet cubicles at the courthouse, but I thought that thing it says you do was against some kind of penal code???

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  3. LOVE the title of this blog. And Google maps was definitely CRAZY. But fun 🙂 What pissed me off is that some locations must not have pictures available yet because I tried stalking my bff and….couldn’t go down her road. That’s bullshit really. Google needs to get on their game. If they are going to condone some stalking, they should condone ALL stalking.
    I have a story and will try to sum up but you know me: I violated my ex-husbands band page on myspace once. He was a dirty bastard, as you know, and I was super pissed at him during one of his many disappearing acts. Before he left he had logged into the bands page: the guitarist created it and my ex kept the password secret but he, being the forgetful idiot he was, forgot to log off. YAY. I hated all the band members for being shady freaks and I (still) thought that the guitarist was a closet gay dude that had a crush on the hub. Plus my hub was homophobic, so this is what I did:
    I changed the email from theirs to mine, then changed the password, opened another window, went to my email and confirmed new password. Then I found the nastiest gay porn pic of two dudes I could find and made it the profile pic. THEN I changed everyone’s bio to include the heroin and the laziness, woman beating, narcissistic tendencies. As you can imagine, in my rage I was QUITE WITTY. They were VERY UPSET. Being that 3 of the four band members were ex-convicts, they were extra pissed about the gay thing and that I defiled their very popular band page. And they couldn’t change the password. I had FULL administrative control. They made a new myspace and put a profile pic flipping me off, but they couldn’t compete with this angry, witty, bitchy, secret agent! No one can really, when I am on a mission. HEHE
    I only left it up for a day but it was a glorious day. Moral of the story: ALWAYS LOG OUT OF YOUR SHIT.
    I also used to go into our cell phone account online and could see to the minute, who that douchebag was calling and texting when he was off on a bender. That’s how I found out he was cheating.
    Not that this really relates, but to this day I cannot watch that show “cheaters” because I get flashbacks.

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    • Wow, now THAT’s a new slant on the internet stalking angle – doing it from INSIDE a relationship!! Loving the homo-erotic band page thing – I can only imagine the fantastic press it generated for their image!! As for logging out of shit, my wife has all my log-ins and passwords for everything from my Facebook account to my online banking (yes, I trust her THAT much!!) so it would be a bit pointless. At any point if I upset her sufficiently she could instantly BE me online, and fuck me over royally. If you read any posts about me confessing my homosexuality, chances are I forgot to do the dishes again………

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      • LOLOLOL. I think that NOT keeping password secrets in a marriage is super important these days. If you love and trust your relationship, no need to be secretive. Obviously neither myself OR my ex trusted one another. LOL Yes, it was liberating to infiltrate via technology. I will be watching for the blog regarding your love of ass over dishes. HEHEHE

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    • That he was Roy – the police state mentality is ever more present and while he may have been a few years off he was a man ahead of his times no doubt, and a scarily accurate one at that.

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