I see you…yes, you. You’ve followed me on Twitter, tried to friend me on Facebook, tripped across my StumbleUpon profile and pleaded us “colleagues” on LinkedIn. You’ve emailed me through both of my blogs and – to your credit – tracked down my company’s website and sent me an email at that address as well.
With an inbox full of your disjointed prose professing admiration for my wordsmithing and laced, without fail, with your enchantment by my fiery mane, you’ve poured out your heart and said that you want nothing more than to learn from me … communicate with me … emulate me … and you want to make one thing clear:
you’re not a stalker.
Of course you’re not a stalker. Why on earth would I think so? It’s merely your way of showing me how much you admire my work is all. I get that. You’ve just sought me out in every single virtual presence I maintain and attached yourself like a barnacle to my social media underside, clinging to me with an affection that’s generally reserved for small children and ponies at petting zoos and a teenager with their first set of car keys.
It’s perfectly natural for one to spew paragraphs of prose upon initiation of a virtual connection, one whose words you’ve most likely read out of context or even worse, one whose words you’ve poured through in their entirety and thus you think you “know” the writer, this object of your virtual and literary affection. I understand the strength it takes for one to sit down and craft that heartfelt masterpiece and am puzzled why I don’t quite rate a Beethovenish signature on the scale of Immortal Beloved. It seems only natural, considering you have me cornered … figured out … pegged.
You see my every word, every bookmark, and if I’ve erred, each picture posted for friends, families and the familiar to share. A single haphazard slip of the mouse and I’ve brought you into my inner sanctum, bestowing upon you the power to comment, peruse, rifle, and ultimately demand my engagement in your professed zealotry for my life and that which is “me.”
Each morning, I’m afraid to check my various electronic outlets as I know they’ll be filled by your comments, DMs, @ replies, messages and emails through my blog comment forms. You’ve scared me, fan, and I’ve no recourse except to put my foot down, reclaim my independence and push your social media stalker ass into the vat alongside Glenn Close’s bunny.
While I accept that having an online persona opens me up to people like you trying to gain access to my life, it doesn’t mean I have to allow it. Let me give you a rundown on why you are, indeed, a stalker (though you vehemently profess you’re just a fan/admirer):
(1) to go through an area(s) in search of prey or quarry
(2) to pursue obsessively and to the point of harassment
Social media has a beautiful safeguard built into it: permission. While you may follow, me I needn’t follow you. You may ask to be my friend, yet I need not reciprocate. When someone such as yourself takes the liberties of imagined familiarity and grants yourself permission to contact me any ‘ol fucking way you please, at any hour and by any means…
you’re a stalker.
This also applies to your cousin, The Perv.
While my language is foul and ridiculous hash tags are of questionable taste to many, they are not implications of permission for you to speak to me in any way that’s less than respectful. You don’t know me, you’ve never met me, and I will block your ass and report you for abuse to any network I can faster than the epic fucktards who profess to help me make money on Twitter.
You are *not* my friend, my colleague nor even a mere acquaintance.
You are an unknown. Just as I am to you. And you freak my shit out.
Yet by your exhaustive process of “latching on,” you feel like you know me. My friends. My inner circle.
And you don’t.
You’ve gone straight from “fan” to dumbass by assuming that I appreciate your fanaticism and by thinking that, since I didn’t reply to your first 3 Facebook messages, it must be something wrong with Facebook.
But there’s not.
There’s something wrong with you.
Me? I’m a chick residing somewhere in the Rocky Mountain Region with a few thousand followers on Twitter, a couple hundred friends on Facebook and two blogs that beg debate on a variety of topics. I’m by no means all that and a bag of Boulder Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar potato chips. If you were remotely in the same fucking time zone as me, I’d slap a restraining order on you. But you assume that, based on the anonymity of the Internet, you’re entitled to horn your way into my life and force your desire to communicate on me.
Well, that’s horsehit.
As this blog is being written, I am parsing my Facebook friends and unfriending anyone whom does not “fit the bill.” I’m sure there will be more purging to come. I used to connect indiscriminately and I’ve learned my lesson. Those who ask me to connect now must indicate how they know me and I don’t give a shit if they get pissed by my asking. It’s my life circus and if I want you to jump through hoops and sing Yankee-fucking-Doodle-Dandy, you’ll sing it.
It’s a challenge, I tell you — the process of trying to decide what to make public and what to keep private. Each day, I get better at the process and I have the pushy stalkers like yourself to thank. In an Internet age where newborns seem shat from the womb with a pre-programmed knowledge of the iPhone, it’s easy to find anyone through the wonders of technology.
But I don’t have to communicate with you when you *do* find me.
Social media is permission-based interaction. I don’t give you permission to communicate with me.
When you take sex without permission, it’s called rape.
When you take belongings without permission, it’s called theft.
When you force yourself and/or your ideas onto an unwilling party, it’s called harassment.
If I were a celebrity (and thank all that’s chocolate I’m not), I’d have a publicist to deal with the jackassery that is you. Until I make my millions and I’m the flavor of the week on a Perez Hilton rant, I’ll continue to block you, delete your messages and keep you away from all that’s dear to me.
Because my life is my circus. I don’t need three-headed midgets like you running around and ass-raping the clowns.
They’re my goddamn clowns. Stay the fuck away from them, stalker (see part 2 of the definition above).