Social networking sites, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, have all contributed to the creepiness of the Internet. Now we can cyberstalk people to our heart’s content. Whatever happened to that girl who threw pudding at me in the 7th grade, you may wonder. Oh, where did that dude end up who dumped me after our third date?
Now, instead of hiring a private dectective or thumbing through the phone book for a last name, we can simply use the search engine on Facebook. And bam! We find out that Debbie is a mother of two living in Delaware and Johnny is still doing keg stands at his parents’ house in Freehold.
Why do we find the need to cyberstalk? What makes us so interested in the lives of other people, people who don’t even really matter to us, that we spend hours combing their Facebook pages, looking at pictures, status updates, and more?
The even weirder part is that people have a fascination with the folks who were mean to them. We downright hate these individuals in real life and never call them to make a play date, and yet we visit their Facebook page, blog, and Twitter account multiple times a day. But why?
The Internet is like the rose colored glasses of real life. Everybody’s existence seems so much more exciting than it really is. Molly can post something about her recent trip to England and all of the exciting stuff she saw, when in reality she sits in a cubicle for 40 hours a week and has never been out of the country until now. Timmy can “check in” to all of these fabulous bars every night of the week and we think he’s a popular social butterfly. But instead, Timmy’s checking in to these bars by himself and passing out on his neighbor’s front stoop.
By nature, humans are curious and dependent pack animals. In the times when Ug was still beating Oog over the head with a stick and dragging her by the hair back to his cave, humans have been social and family oriented beings.
Our Facebook “pack” allows us to be part of something bigger than ourselves. When we hate people in real life, our pack instinct still pulls us to them, like the sea to the moon. Throw in the distorted reality the Internet creates and it gives us that “grass is always greener” complex.