Readers! Rumours of my demise have been greatly underestimated. Or whatever. Leave town for one week and suddenly it’s crisis mode around the office. This is the last time I go to Vegas to fuck dice… wait, nevermind, I think I’m still hung over. This week, you’re in for a treat – I get to dissect the creature that is social media! Although the last time I dissected an animal, it inevitably ended up on a platter at the U of A’s Vegan Society debutante ball. Can’t be the belle of the ball, might as well be an asshole.
I have a problem, I attract creepy e-stalkers. Guys I barely (or in some cases don’t) know favourite/like/comment on literally every post I make! My current Facebook stalker I had met a grand total of once before he added me, began messaging me his life story, asking me to lunch (I declined), and liking everything I post. Obviously I’ve deleted him from my friends list, but he continues to like and comment on my replies to posts mutual friends of ours make! How can I stop this? And is there a way to make my profile less desirable to internet stalkers?
– Almost Famous
This is a common problem, and one that stems from the format of social media itself. Facebook is essentially used as an advertisement – a highlight reel for someone’s life. Everyone is approximately 450% more fun online than they are in real life1. We take all the hilarious, funny, and artificially deep moments of our life, catch them on camera, and then post them up in albums so all our friends can look at them in quick succession and realize how boring their own lives really are. An online fantasy is created, and your market value instantly rises to people who buy into the bullshit.
Now, combine this with the instant confidence boost granted by the semi-anonymity of the internet. Every timid, socially awkward turtle turns into a rockstar hometown hero online. It’s easy to mistake being a tool for being confident when you’re hiding behind a name and an avatar. Mix in some sociopathic behaviour and voila, you’ve got yourself a creepy internet stalker.
There are a couple of easy solutions you could try, but in your case I highly doubt they will have much effect. Homeland security developed a categorization system for criminals and perverts, but it also applies to Facebook stalkers.
Sounds like this guy falls somewhere between Stage 2 and a restraining order. If you’ve never watched TV, I have to warn you that people in early stages of social deviance always develop into dangerous psychopaths (don’t roll your eyes, I have some Amish followers who read The Wanderer’s quill-printed edition – parchment scrolls are so in these days).
I wanted to answer this question immediately upon receiving it, but a man must admit when he is beat. In this instance, I will confess I lacked the required knowledge to correctly answer your question. BUT, I was willing to go the distance. In an attempt to do some field research, I decided to perform an experiment. I would attract a stage 4 Facebook stalker, and then catalogue the steps required to push her away. By the end, I would have the necessary knowledge to create an entire guide on the subject. Unfortunately, I got far more than I bargained for. Here, I chronicle the rapid, frightening descent of my Facebook profile, and the dire consequences that entailed.
Drawn from the personal diary of Darren F. Tardif
Phase 0: The Trap
September 14th, 2012
I changed my Facebook profile around to establish a baseline. It’s been doctored a little bit to disguise my true intentions from any would-be stalkers.
I am attempting to find a Stage 4 stalker, according to the algorithm outlined by Hansen et al.
September 17th, 2012
It’s been about 4 cycles of attracting girls and letting them add me to Facebook, only to have them fall into Stages 0-3. After this many trials, I’ve decided that the easiest way to pick up a Stage 4 stalker will be to scope out an artsy first year class. Tomorrow I will attend a 400 person first-year sociology class and monitor people’s Facebook usage during the lectures.
September 18th, 2012
I’ve spotted a girl who meets enough of the criteria. I think she will turn out to be a Stage 4.
Will refer to target as Stef (STagE Four) from now on
September 19th, 2012
Sat next to Stef today. We flirted a bit. She asked for my class schedule, home address and social security number. I gave her all the right info, but for the wrong person (Sorry Logan!) Things are going well.
September 20th, 2012
Stef added me to Facebook.
September 21st, 2012
Time to test what this girl is really made of. Stopped sitting by her in class. Ignored her outright today in the hallway. Responded to her once on Facebook. This pattern continued on daily. Evidence of Stage 4 as follows:
September 28th, 2012
Total likes to date: 1,137 (timeline goes way, WAY back)
Total comments directly below my new postings: 14 (out of a potential 16)
Phase 1: The Revamp
September 29th, 2012
I changed my Facebook profile to something a little more unsettling.
I’ve also indicated I’m in a complicated relationship. This did not turn out so well…
I’m going to have to try a lot harder.
Phase 2: The Cat Lady
October 4th, 2012
Here’s where things get ugly. I decided that I’m adding a theme to my Facebook page – CATS, CATS EVERYWHERE. I’m not proud of this, but it got the ball rolling. Note the subtle look of complete insanity in my eyes.
I did not foresee the following outcomes.
Yet again, this didn’t work. I now also have 24,349 pictures of cats in my inbox. The entire internet is inside of my gmail account…
Phase 3: Heart of Darkness
October 7th, 2012
I can’t get rid of this girl. It’s getting ridiculous. She won’t stop calling. I need to do something drastic.
I think I might have gotten carried away?
Phase 4: Off the Deep End…
October 16th, 2012
I can’t take it anymore. This girl is batshit crazy. I can’t get her out of my house. My life is falling apart. I can’t tell the difference between Facebook and real life anymore, like some fucked-up online version of House of Leaves. The same black van has been parked outside my house for a week now, and all my phone calls are a little fuzzy. I smashed my laptop screen with a hammer and I can’t stop yelling at my cat. QUIT LOOKING AT ME!
Everything had to be my way. And this is where we’ve ended up and it’s all because of me that I’m here now – hungry, cold, and hunted. I love you mom, dad. I am so sorry. What is that? I’m scared to close my eyes, I’m scared to open them. I’m gonna die out here…
October 17th, 2012
Turns out you can’t scare crazy away without getting dragged along for the ride. I started therapy last week. Hopefully it can help me get out the bloodstains.
Well, it might not have been a valid answer, but some things just aren’t worth the risks involved. If you really need a break from Facebook stalkers, try going outside. All the hipsters are doing it. Join me next week when I’m finally out of rehab. Hell, I might even have my Facebook account privileges back. I really need to post more of these hilarious cat pictures.
1. 90% of statistics are made up on the spot. Did you really expect something else from an in-text citation from me?
As usual, if you have comments or questions, please send them off to firstname.lastname@example.org.