Opinion: The ultimate form of flattery

Illustration

Illustration

By Cassie Cleary

Did you ever get the feeling you were being watched? That you had seen the shady character walking behind you down Green Street somewhere before? That the rustling in the bushes outside your apartment wasn’t just a squirrel? If you have, chances are you have a stalker. Now, most people would tell you to call the local authorities and never go out in public alone again.

I’m here to tell you that these people are wrong. Stalking is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, you should be flattered. How much must a person like you and desire your company in order to follow you around all day, just to see what you’re up to?

Let’s face it. In these technologically advanced days, it almost would be impossible to stop a stalker even if you wanted to. All a potential stalker has to do is type your name in the University’s Phonebook Gateway (a.k.a. stalker files), and he/she will have access to all your information; including your phone number, address, e-mail, major, etc. A few years ago, a stalker probably would have left it at that. These days, though, we have something known in stalking circles as the stalker’s best friend: thefacebook.com.

This social network was created by one smart Harvard student who obviously knows what stalkers want and is happy to give it to them. All a stalker has to do is type your name into the registry and up pops your submitted picture and wonderfully personalized profile. From this profile, the stalker is able to get to know you on a personal level – your favorite movies, books and bands.

Guess what else the stalker can find? Your entire class schedule. That’s right. He or she can know your exact location for a good portion of your day (if you go to class, that is.)

Of course, Thefacebook understands this always isn’t enough to satisfy the stalker’s curiosity. Thankfully, if a stalker probes enough into your personal information on Thefacebook, he/she can find the next item on the agenda: your instant-messaging screen name.

Sure, instant messenger makes it much easier for you to ask your friend in the next dorm room to dinner. It’s also a great way to waste time when you’re supposed to be writing an essay. But were these its original purposes? That’s highly doubtful. After all, instant messenger allows you to add a “buddy” without that person’s knowledge. This means you are free to obsessively check the buddy’s profile and away messages to your stalking heart’s desire. Pretty

stalker-friendly, I’d say.

So you see, you can’t really blame someone for stalking. Is it the stalker’s fault if he/she wants to get to know you better and is willing to take advantage of the technology to do so? After all, the information is out there. If you use instant messenger or Thefacebook, you chose to put it out there.

Not everyone can have a stalker, though. That’s why it’s such an honor if you do have one lurking around.

On the other hand, everyone can be a stalker. All it takes is a little time and commitment; and maybe a little obsessive passion. If you’re a first-time stalker, don’t be intimidated. Stalking is easier than ever, and there’s no better way to show that lucky someone your admiration. To get started, just browse through some potential candidates on Thefacebook until you find someone particularly intriguing. Maybe you’ll find a fellow engineering major or perhaps another fan of The Steve Harvey Show.

With more than 38,000 students here at the University, the possibilities are endless. The important thing is not to fall into the trap of attempting direct communication, either through Thefacebook or instant messenger. The healthy route is constantly checking away messages so you know where that person is and what he/she is doing – so that you can show up there, too.

Cassie Cleary is a sophomore in LAS. Her column runs Wednesdays. She can be reached at [email protected]