No such thing as “Facebook stalking”

You might consider me a Facebook stalker. I, however, believe my use of the website is typical of many other students. Nearly all Facebook users are guilty of it: finding something on the newsfeed that leads us to view many sections of that individual’s profile, pictures and interests.

I have always found it interesting what people decide to share through their profiles to people they may or may not know. The statuses vary, including “first world problems,” attempts to raise awareness for worthy causes or our greatest passions and achievements. When bringing up information found on Facebook in person, some may develop the “Facebook stalker complex,” but engagement with users’ posts is the sole purpose of the website.

“Facebook stalking” includes looking at profiles, pictures and posts, including older ones that require some digging. Hearing complaints arise about people creeping on others’ profiles baffle me because of how easy it is to limit others’ access to your posts. This idea shouldn’t seem crazy; if there is information that you do not want other people to find, refrain from posting about it.

The discomfort that comes with “Facebook stalking” arises from pictures or statements that a user is embarrassed about or does not want certain people to see. For example, if Susie doesn’t want Bobby to find out about a failed exam or to read her quotes of post-breakup, heartbroken song lyrics, it is odd that Susie will still post these statuses.

People have accused others of social media stalking after they bring up a mutual interest discovered on the Internet. A light-hearted comment about a shared interest in New Girl could lead to the question, “Were you Facebook stalking me?!”

The way that users post information and then become sensitive about who responds to their posts is silly. Experiencing uneasiness from being ‘Facebook stalked’ is easily avoided by accepting responsibility for material shared.

Facebook is great. In a twenty-minute sitting I can read intriguing articles, send messages to a friend in Florida and get updates on Lawrence clubs. Nothing can beat sitting down across from a person and sharing conversations, articles and interests face to face, but Facebook provides an excellent tool for communicating while unwinding in pajamas.

Rather than complaining about “Facebook stalkers,” the “accusers” should consider their own use of Facebook. The reason for their worry is likely the way they are utilizing the site themselves, adding people they do not know or sharing intimate details that they aren’t comfortable enough to share with everyone.

Embrace the wealth of art, music, interests and passions on social media and just be mindful about the information you post. Facebook users aren’t stalkers; they are actually using the website for its intended purpose… unless they’re an actual stalker. That’s a different story.