Social media has given us the power to know what our friends (or the random people we follow) are doing every moment of their day, in real time. It has also made big stalkers out of everyone through internet connection and some minutes to spare.
Admit it. How many times have you caught yourself, late at night deep into people’s Instagram account criticizing their body, feeling jealous about their vacations, or simply hating on the curated collection of moments they decided to share with their followers and non followers alike (I mean, if the accounts are public they’re basically asking for it right?).
You stalk, you cringe, you hate and you repeat. You start to stalk people as obsessively as you would stalk your ex to the point where you’re so invested in their lives you start talking about them as if they were part of your social circle. The behavior becomes compulsive to the point where you feel the need to check this person’s feed on a daily basis only to hate some more. After a few weeks you find yourself wondering: If this person’s so awful, why can’t I look away?
Everyone has that ONE person they hate stalk and it’s generally someone who shows us a side of us we wish came out more. Example: If you feel awkward about going to the beach you might hate stalk a girl who always posts pictures of herself in a bikini in a super body positive way. If you’re a person who’s afraid to pursue your passions you might hate stalk someone who’s not afraid to admit their dreams out loud, and hate them for it.
Generally the person we stalk has very similar interests as us or does things we wish we were doing with our lives. If you’re an aspiring fashion editor, you wouldn’t go hate stalking the Insta-feed of a OBGYN resident. You would hate stalk all the girls you know (or don’t) who have really amazing fashion jobs. If you really want to get married soon, you would probably hate stalk people who constantly post about their weddings. The people we hate stalk give us great clues about what’s missing in our lives or what we would want for ourselves.
Often, we stalk people whose lives hold an incredible resemblance to ours. We hate stalk them to see where we measure up by comparison. We compare our vacation pictures to theirs to see who had a more Insta worthy time. We hate them for having better couple’s pictures than we do, or for getting a promotion before us. We constantly feel we’re falling short compared to them, which is where the hate element comes to surface. It’s almost like a competition they don’t even know they’re participating in.
We might not actually hate them at all, in fact we might actually feel deep admiration for whatever it is they’re doing. We hate stalk them because something about them fascinates us and we fear we might not be as fascinating as them when looked at from an outsider’s perspective. Because if we’re investing so much time on this person’s social media feeds, chances are, someone else is spending the same amount of time gawking at ours and measuring us by the same scale we use to measure the object of our stalking.
Scary, isn’t it?