While trying to impress a guy the other day, I turned and asked in my sexiest voice, “Do you know which presidents were the same height you are?” (Yes. I attempted to use presidential height as a flirting technique. I NEVER CLAIMED TO BE COOL.)
“Um. No,” he said, looking at me like I was crazy, although I’m sure I don’t know why. “Do you know which presidents were the same height you are?”
“Duh,” I said. “Look at me! Don’t I remind you of James Madison?”
“Not Calvin Coolidge, huh? That’s too bad, I know you like him.”
“I wish! Coolidge was taller.” Then I stopped. While my unnatural affection towards the Sphinx of the Potomac is not exactly a secret, I generally remember who I’ve annoyed with stories of his brilliance. “How do you know I’m a Silent Cal kind of gal?” I asked suspiciously.
“I was Facebook stalking you,” he said.
It was a harsh reminder that Facebook stalking goes both ways. For every profile picture I’ve analyzed, someone has scrutinized mine. For every comment I’ve critiqued, someone’s been critiquing mine. On the one hand, it’s nice to know I’m not some weirdo, obsessively checking everyone else’s pages while mine sits untouched in a dusty corner of the internet. On the other hand… Gah! There’s no way I’d ever be able to take down the weird stuff I’ve left all over Facebook. I’m like a slug leaving behind a slimy trail of crazy.
Of course, I was already overanalyzing Facebook. I’m literally paid to internet (which I’ve decided is a verb now), and Facebook remains the most popular social networking site, so I think about it a lot. I think about it too much, actually, so now we get to play…
Never Have I Ever: the Perils and Pitfalls of Facebook Stalking
1) Have you ever stalked yourself?
If I’ve added you as a Facebook friend, chances are I’ve stalked you pretty thoroughly first (maybe even in real life) (Kidding!) (Mostly.), and I’ve probably stalked myself from your perspective. I swear I have a good reason: It’s ok if a new friend sees a picture of me in jail. It’s less ok if someone I need to impress, like a potential employer, sees that same picture.
The issue occurs when I take that too far and over-stalk myself. I think I’ve spent more time looking at my page from someone else’s point of view than I have looking at anyone else’s from my point of view. Calling myself a Facebook narcissist would imply I like what I see. My page is never good enough. My profile pictures aren’t photogenic. My album titles are stupid. My relationship status hasn’t changed in so long that the heart icon has been replaced with an ice cube. I stress over it. I want people to look at my life– I wouldn’t have a page if I didn’t– but I don’t want them to look very hard. Ideally, I’d like everyone to think, “Hmm, she has her moments” after a cursory glance and then move along. This is not the droid you’re looking for.
2. Have you ever brought something you found through Facebook stalking up in a real-life conversation? Something you absolutely should not have known?
Sometimes I can’t remember what I learned on Facebook and what someone told me in real life, so when we’re having a conversation, I have three options: 1) I can either keep quiet, 2) I can forge ahead and bring it up, hoping it’s not something I read in a six-month-old wall post by a friend of a friend, or 3) I can try to steer the conversation so they’ll mention it, which makes the entire chat ridiculous because I’m just trying to get someone to tell me something I already knew. It’s never a big piece of information like a marriage, or a new baby, or a job; it’s always some stupid little thing I suddenly have to talk about, like the fact that they like eggnog, or that their grandma’s cat died.
3. Have you ever been so convinced you’re going to mention one of those pieces of information that you freeze up and can’t function?
Last spring, I was about to go on a date with a guy I really liked. (This date, actually.) He had tattoos, gauged ears, and hipster glasses– a deadly combination for me. My friend Dillon was not as easily impressed and insisted on some pre-date Facebook stalking. Secret service agents are not vetted as thoroughly. Dillon went so far back on this guy’s profile that he was able to tell me the name of his childhood pet. I spent the whole date freaked out I was going to accidentally bring up the dead dog he hadn’t posted anything about in years.
4. Have you ever Facebook stalked an ex and wound up feeling worse?
I don’t mean right after the breakup, when you should stay away from Facebook at all costs. I mean months later, when you think, “Self, you’re so over that. You’re the comeback kid.” To prove how over it you really are, you engage in some light Facebook stalking. At first you’re smug. “Oh-ho! Moved to a lame city, I see. Working a minimum-wage job, I see.” Then things go south. Your ex has been hitting the gym. He’s surrounded by attractive people in his pictures, people who post hilarious things on his wall. Everything is the worst. You’re not winning at life, you’re a Facebook-stalking monster no one will ever love!
Damn you, Facebook. Damn you.
…I have to go edit my page now.
P.S.: You kind of want to know which presidents shared your height and BMI, don’t you? My friend, you’ve come to the right place.