Anonymous said: so do you mean we shouldnt follow u on several different platforms or not? sorry i'm not trying to be weird i'm just honestly confused. i don't think i'm stalked anyone but i do like to follow people on all their sites like tumblr facebook twitter google plus. if i shouldn't follow you or should fllow you on one or two thats cool too i don't want to disrspect your privacy. i just thought it was o.k. to follow you on different media. is just one o.k. or is 2 o.k.?
Ah, sorry if that was unclear.
As far as I’m concerned, anything I post publicly is fair game. Have at.
What I am not okay with people casually referring to following people on public platforms, or following their creative work, as “stalking.”
The above was clarification on this post, wherein postcardsfromspace said: “Incidentally: if you use “stalking” to mean “following on social media” or “following publicly available works,” I will block you so fast your head will spin.”
This is a very important thing and kind of hit a nerve with me. I’m pretty public about many aspects of my life, including my retail job (i.e. I’m easy to find). I like to encourage my followers to say hello if they run into me in person, because I like the opportunity to bridge the gap between digital and physical worlds and to foster more meaningful interactions.
But what happens more often than not is people come up to me and say “You’re Merrick right? I’m totally stalking you online! Hahaha.” Oh, heh, great, but… who are you again? Most of these people don’t think to introduce themselves. I often have to ask people who know who I am who they are, or what their online handle is, because they don’t politely introduce themselves or explain how they know who I am. I’ve even had a woman make a reference to my public transit habits, followed by the statement “which I know because I’m totally stalking you online.”
That’s not a compliment. That just makes me paranoid for the rest of the day.
I totally understand how the phrase was originally intended to be cute and flattering, but it’s not anymore. It is a really fucking weird thing to hear. Especially for those of us who might be risking actual stalkers due to the way we choose to openly, publicly live our lives through social media. And don’t you dare say we’re asking for it by being so public, because no, and you’re an asshole.
Besides, if you tell us who you are, perhaps we’ll be all the more excited to interact with you online! Introductions give us the opportunity to go “Oh, this is a rad person/actual human, not just someone mindlessly faving and re-posting and making awkward-but-probably-funny-if-we-know-you comments on things”.
If you wouldn’t want strangers to stalk you, don’t joke about stalking people whom you have never actually met or fostered a digital friendship with. Just offer a handshake and a name (even if its not your real one, because let’s face it, in my head I’m using your handle anyway) and say “cool job yo” or whatever. A little bit of etiquette can go a long way.
It’s not funny when it’s actually happened to you.