Monday, September 13, 2010

Facebook Stalking 101

I assume most of you have Facebook. If you are one of the lucky few that managed to escape the Facebook madness, good for you! Seriously, I wish I had the willpower to cancel my account. I have tried on numerous occasions. And I was actually successful for about a month. But inevitably, I was back on "the book."

I remember when I first heard about Facebook. I signed up but still didn't really understand the full concept. Eventually it started catching on across campus and everyone starting hopping on the Facebook bandwagon. But it was really a college thing. You didn't have to worry about your siblings, parents, and even grandparents stalking your Facebook page. Now everyone has a Facebook account. Parents, cousins, bosses, co-workers. You have to be really careful about what you post, what photos you share, any status updates you put up. I think it has lost some of it's charm. Before you could share witty comments, hysterical photos, inside jokes.... but now everyone reads into what you write and what other people post. People judge others by their Facebook accounts. And honestly, 90% of the time... most people don't understand the meaning of the inside joke or funny comment that is posted but they make judgements anyway..... Quite frankly, I miss the old Facebook.

I mean sure it is a great way to reconnect with old friends and with your family members that live far away. But now rather then sending cards, we post on each other's walls. Who makes phone calls anymore? Everything is much less personal!

And then comes my BIGGEST PET PEEVE. When those folks that were never nice to you, sometimes actually mean to you, decide to add you as a friend on Facebook. If you are not my friend, and you have never been my friend, then why on earth are you adding me as a friend on Facebook? Because what happens is I have to decide whether or not to add them and if I decide not to add them then I look like the jerk. So you add them. And then you have to wonder... "Are they Facebook stalking me? Should I make a limited profile list?"

Let's talk a little bit about Facebook stalking. Did you know people actually make up fake accounts, using fake names, so they can add people that they don't like and look at their photos and profiles? Yep, crazy! I know one of these stalker types. And she even made fake Twitter name to follow certain people's Twitter accounts without their knowledge. So folks, the lesson here... set your privacy settings and don't add people you don't know.

Here is the Urban Dictionary's definition of a Facebook stalker:

Someone who is obsessed with someone else and stalks them on facebook. Not always traceable or noticeable, but clues are: wall posts replying to every status update, viewing every posted picture of the stalked, etc...

You are a FB stalker. You qualify as a FB stalker if you :

a) click on someone's profile more than once a day even if they haven't messaged or tagged you in a photo. 

b) have dragged and dropped more than 3 FB photos (not from your own profile) 

c) actually go to a place mentioned on someone's page in hopes of seeing them in real life...creepy!

And something that upsets me even more is when they add my husband! Now you have never met my hubby. We haven't seen each other is years. And when we did, we didn't like each other. So why on earth would you go to the trouble to add my husband on Facebook? The whole thing is kind of creepy to me. I prefer to maintain relationships with old friends.... not the folks that were mean and standoffish in high school and college. Once in awhile I will get a little naive and think to myself... "well maybe they have grown up and are actually nice girls now." So I will send them a nice message wishing them well. And then of course... no response.

So then comes the next question. Is it okay to de-friend people on Facebook? Awhile back I actually removed 2,000 people from my friend list. I hit 5,000 friends and at that point you are actually not allowed to add any more. So I decided to take away anyone that I didn't personally know. It took hours and during the process I somehow managed to de-friend real friends by accident. I actually gave up before I went through my entire friend list. But I felt better about knowing a good majority of the people left on my friend list. It was nice to actually recognize people on the newsfeed.

Personally, I think that you should friend people on Facebook because you are friends and you want to stay in touch with them. So if they aren't really your friends and you don't talk to them on Facebook, maybe it is perfectly fine to go ahead and "de-friend" them. If someone knows, please explain to me why people have a desire to get on other people's Facebook accounts that they don't like and go through their profile and photos? It is like a strange obsession. I think you should ignore the folks you don't like and spend your time enjoying your own life and your actual friends. I wonder how many minutes a day people waste looking at profiles of people that they dislike?

Now I will admit, I love looking at my friends profiles to see what they have been up to and to check out their photos from the weekend. But once again, that is because I actually like those people. I think there is a difference.

What do you think? De-friend or add all sorts of privacy settings and put them on your limited profile list?

What are your biggest Facebook pet peeves?


  1. What drives me crazy is people asking to friend me just because we have friends in common. I have people (local) that I don't know. And if I wouldn't speak to you on the street I not going to friend you on FB. I really need to update my friend list.

  2. Ack! I had an awesome post written out, and I don't think it went through (but if it did, feel free to disapprove this one!)

    I "houseclean" on facebook all the time. It's just gotta be done. The only reason I have a limited profile list is for people (certain friends and family members) that I know would notice and be upset if I defriended, but that I don't need seeing all my status updates. Either way, privacy settings are everybody's friend.

    Pet peeves - people who post nothing but political rants (prepare to be housecleaned or moved to the limited profile list) and linked twitter accounts - I don't want to see your hash tags or @ replies!

  3. Ugh, I've tried to delete my account so many times- I lack the will power as well! My rule is, if I have never spoken to you face-to-face, I will not approve your friend request, unless we have a close mutual friend (if someone's been mean to me in the past I still approve, because people grow up!). Taking up space on my feed every 10 minutes with rude/offensive/dramatic updates? I'll have to defriend you. It always feels bad defriending people, but such relief!

  4. I can't believe you posted this today! Just yesterday, I deactivated my account. I couldn't stand it anymore. I got sick and tired of the same people posting everything from having a headache to how much gas they pumped in their cars. Who cares? Some of the political posts were hard for me to refrain from as were the 40 plus year olds posting pictures of themselves in bikinis. Ugg... too much. Oh, and the bragging. At my age, you should be over it.

    But my most favorite FB experiences have to be from junior high and high school girls who asked to be my friend who I had no relationship with whatsoever. Ever. Once I hesitantly accepted, as I didn't know them at all (I was never was going to accept a request from someone I never shared any memories with - but I did.), they blasted me for something I did to them when I was 13 years old. Huh? Dropped both and blocked them from any of my FB activity. I didn't join so others could make me feel like crap. It was to reconnect with old college friends and to keep in contact with relatives/friends who live far away.

    I decided the friends and family members I'm closest with know how to get a hold of me. They can call me anytime or email me at home.

    I seriously don't think I'll miss it one bit. I enjoy blogging much better.

    I'd de-friend, but that's just me. Adding privacy settings works well, too.

    Great post.

  5. Oh, I forgot to mention another pet peeve. The complete strangers who ask to be your friend. People from half-way around the world that you've never met in your entire life. That one I really don't get. Very, very creepy.

    I had one guy from California say to me, "I would be very honored if you would be my friend." Um, NO. I'd never seen him in my life nor did we share a mutual friend. Weird.

  6. I think it is completely fine to defriend people who you dislike or aren't close to. I recently deleted about 10 people who I went to school with last year who I never talked to or who I disliked

  7. GREAT POST! And yes, i do miss the old facebook. Funny you mentioned this because JUST LAST NIGHT my mom asked me what one of the comments meant that one of my friends left was an inside joke, ha!

    I recently just deleted a bunch of "friends" on my account, and it felt SO good. I now have 431 friends....& they're all my FRIENDS! Have a good day! :)

  8. i've defriended before and people have defriended me too. i think it's okay. sometimes they won't even notice. everyone in my office has a facebook profile, so some of the ladies here are on a "special list" where they can't see my status' or photos i'm tagged in, etc. i had my boss ask me one time if i was doing okay b/c she saw my facebook status and it was pessimistic. i also had a co-worker ask me what "fml" meant when I had it on my status one morning. i pretended my butt blackberry'd my fb status that day.

    i miss when it was just made it so much more exclusive and secretive.

    now, there are people having facebook wars with one another or gossiping about someone based on what they had as their status. it's ridic!

    p.s. my mom now has a facebook and she'll ask me about stuff that i have on my status or what i've written on others "did you and kelly have fun at dinner?" "um, mom i'm blocking did you know we went to dinner." "b/c it was on my news feed." nah, she's not that bad. ;)

  9. What is a limited profile list?

    I am at a toss up with both FB and my blog. Keep, go private, erase altogether, ignore fears... I have a bunch of friend requests just sitting there. I won't accept but won't delcline. BC if I decline, they can just keep requesting. So they sit in limbo.

  10. i have a few limitd profiles...
    1. for coworkers
    2. for family
    3. for my friends' family
    (nuts, i know!!)

    in addition, i have been defriending people for almost a year now. i hit 1200 friends and thought to myself... there is no way that i want all of these people in my business. so what i've been doing is a slow process, but it's worked. everyday i check to see whose birthday it is. if i can't immediately recognize who they are or why i know them, then i defriend them.

  11. I am an adder... I try and get all the friends I can, maybe it is a confidence thing, I don't have many real life friends. LOL

  12. I'm happy after reading your post that I have not become a FB Victim ~ I tried it when it was first out there, for like a month.. and after having people whom I never met wanting to be friends ~ I became a little freaked out; so deleted myself out (though I've heard even when you delete FB still holds profiles in their files somewhere).

    I know alot people say its great to connect with people you haven't seen/spoken to for years. My question is ~ there must be a reason they have not been part of your life ~ just because they or you are accessible by a click on a keyboard - does not a friend make.
    Good luck on FB.. XO HHL

  13. I am barely on FB anymore, mainly because I got too hooked on the games! I also found myself immersed in what other people were doing at all times and felt lost if I didn't know...that scared me! I've kept my account because sometimes that is the only connection I have to some people and I like to see updates and pictures when friends and family have babies, get married, etc. I enjoy Twitter much more and secretly hope that not everyone jumps on board. My pet peeve is also when people from HS, who never talked to me then, suddenly want to be my "friend"! What is up with that??

  14. I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GLAD you wrote this article, because I feel exactly the same way about facebook! It's a convenient way to keep in touch with family and (real) friends, especially since we live far away. But it's also very inconvenient way to deal with the "others", like the co-worker who talks about me behind my back but is so nice to me on my facebook wall.

    For now, I am setting the highest privacy on the "others", but am really thinking of de-friending them.

  15. I keep my facebook just for people I know in person or are very good blogger friends...but I get a lot of requests from people who see my name commenting on people they know and figure they should add me too. I dont get people who have hundreds, or even thousands of people on their list. I dont even know that many people lol! I keep a fan page for my blog so people can join that.

    The de-friending thing...ugh it annoys me. If I havnt heard from someone in months and cant think of a thing to say to them I just remove them. I assume they aren't reading my posts so what am I keeping them for? Some get all snotty and email me wanting to know why I deleted them lol.

  16. Great post! I could not agree with you more. I'm struggling with requests from random family - in - law. I'm sure I come off looking like a witch, but I really do not care. My husband is one of those that has thousands of "friends". I asked him to stop posting so many pics of the kids. It really made me uncomfortable. My feeling is, if it isn't someone that we would send a Christmas card with a picture, then they don't need to see that many pictures. Last I checked, we weren't sending out over a thousand Christmas cards.

    I am a physician (OB/GYN in fact - I really hope that you have a great birth experience!). Many nurses have made requests to be friends. I usually accept, but restrict their access.

    You have inspired me to do a little housekeeping on FB :-)

  17. hahaha! YES I deleted a ton from facebook once as well, and need to go do some house cleaning again! One of the worst though... when you delete someone that you DO NOT KNOW, and they notice you deleted them and add you back. You "ignore" and they continue to add you. Clearly... you're a stalker!! Stop adding me I don't know you!!!

  18. "If you are not my friend, and you have never been my friend, then why on earth are you adding me as a friend on Facebook?"

    EXACTLY! I have had this problem as well. Numerous times. And I didn't feel one bit bad about NOT accepting requests from these people! (Maybe I'm just a b*tch...)

    I never reached 5,000 friends, but I did reach close to 500 before some drama happened a few months back and I realized that there was no reasoning behind me having many of those people on my FL. To date I've done two friend cuts and gotten rid of over 100 people, and it feels great! Chances are I'll do another cut before the year is out. I would really like to get down to under 300 "friends". Mainly I keep people who I was ACTUALLY friends with at one time or another; the people I got rid of were those who requested me and who I'd never had a problem with, but had also never really been FRIENDS with.

    Of course, I also added a disclaimer to my profile that unless we were *actually* friends at some point, people shouldn't bother trying to add me...and since then the requests from those more random people have dwindled to next to nothing ;o)

  19. Great post about facebook. I have a love/hate relationship with it...mostly hate! But, I can't let go. I have deactivated several times and taken breaks, but I always come back.

  20. Biggest Facebook pet peeves: When people try to "read into" stuff that you post that really has nothing to do with them! I try to keep my FB posts positive, and I've actually had friends or family get offended by my statuses. So irritating.

    People who ONLY post negative comments and statuses, like, "Ugh, another headache today, I should just stay in bed" or anyone who writes "FML"...that makes me so mad! If you're online, on Facebook, on a computer, then your life is NOT that bad, and you really need to count your blessings instead of saying "FML"...for some reason that particular phrase just goes beyond having a bad day (which everyone does at some point) into being outright ungrateful for the gift of life.

    I am constantly house-cleaning and de-friending people that either I don't know that well, don't talk to much, or who -- just by my being friends with them on FB -- makes close friends or family mad.

  21. great post about facebook... i actually have been debating weather or not i want to deactivate my account. my reason's are mostly the same as yours but also the fact that ppl just say whatever they feel without really thinking about what they are saying... or i find out things that just might be better not knowing at all. i originally signed up on facebook for sharing pictures of my new son so that i wasn't sending an in your face of an email to everyone....i felt like if you want to see him here is a place you can without me feeling like i was constantly sending pictures. i hate that! so in the end i don't know what to do... my gut tells me to leave.

  22. I love this post! I was just talking about this last night. I'm really starting to hate facebook. I'm thinking of just keeping my business page open, and getting rid of my personal account (if that's possible?) Is it possible to make it so certain people can't see your status updates and comment on your wall?


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