Thursday, June 7, 2012

The 3 Things....About Digital Stalking

From my post yesterday, I got to thinking about the breadth of information that we can find on the internet, if we know where to look.

1) Digital stalking is an artform.

I used to be in charge of sales representatives. Our jobs were to get in front of decision makers of companies and cultivate a relationship that would make them choose my company over a competitor. The information age has made this INFINITELY easier. Doing a few searches, I found marital status, children's names/ages, birthplace, hobbies/interests, and other little nuances of their personality that could win us a contract. The information we got was harmless, but if a stranger walked up to you and started talking about things you were interested in, related to your marital status, and brought up a few great restaurants in your hometown, it would put you at greater ease than someone bull rushing you with a business proposal.

The result of doing "homework" on a client.

2) Stalking is the new parental control

When I ask my kids about school, I get the same response, without fail, day in and day out.
Me: How'd school go guys?
Kids: Good.
Me: What did you do?
Kids: Nothing. 
As much as I'd love to believe that they stared at the walls and went all Stepford Wives at school, I know that's a lie. Then they ask to go to birthday parties and hang out with friends that they've never mentioned before. When we ask about the friends, the response we get is "They're nice."

That's great. I'm glad you think they're nice. Now, let's check their Facebook pictures. Oh look, he's smoking a cigarette. Here's another one of him kicking a kitten. Oh, look, he's throwing up a gang sign. Sure you can go over say that you are not allowed to ever talk to him again. I'll wait in the car.

6th graders sure have evolved.

3) It is a double-edged sword.

When I get a new friend on Facebook, I make sure to go through their photos to see what their life is like since I've seen them last. I also from time to time, search for people in my past life that I haven't heard from in a while, or antagonists that have helped shape me into what I am today. 

The problem with that is that you may not like what you find. The guy I got in trouble with for shoplifting? He's now a priest. Not even a "business suit on Sunday, dress shirt and jeans weekdays" pastor, he's a full out "robes DAILY" pastor. This is typical of some of the personal transformations you'll find. Life is funny that way. Some people blossom late, some people find their calling, some people run their lives into the ground. You may find friends that were just like you are now drug riddled criminals, while the girl that you picked on is now a supermodel. Good luck.

Remember the girl that you called "Thunder Rolls" because she was fat, and liked Garth Brooks? Apparently she still likes country music.


  1. I went to school with a guy named Brad Zerbst. He was short, kinda chubby, funny, but awkward. At the last reunion I went to, he's now a male model, and totally NOT the way he was in high school! It's funny how people change from how you expect. Like the priest. Wonder if he doles out lighter penance for first time shoplifters?