Dear Stalker: Familiarity, Permission and Outright Dumbassery in Social Media

social media stalker

Dear “Fan:”

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):

Dictionary.com
stalker
(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.

Anywhere.

Anytime.

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.

Why?

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).

Sincerely,

The Redhead

32 comments
Joseph
Joseph

Loved it! Great writing style. I hope that your 'problem' is solved and that it doesn't happen again!

Joseph
Joseph

Loved it! Great writing style. I hope that your 'problem' is solved and that it doesn't happen again!

Gerlaine
Gerlaine

Wow, who got you all messed up? I feel for them. You remind me of The Daily Blonde. Are you two sisters? :)

Gerlaine
Gerlaine

Wow, who got you all messed up? I feel for them. You remind me of The Daily Blonde. Are you two sisters? :)

Matt
Matt

Holy shit! :D Note to self: Don't read the rants of a certain pissed-off red-head while at work. Here's me explaining to the boss exactly WTF I'm LOLing about... "Uhh, the clown with the sore ass, boss." "No boss, not circus porn. Internet stalker."

Matt
Matt

Holy shit! :D Note to self: Don't read the rants of a certain pissed-off red-head while at work. Here's me explaining to the boss exactly WTF I'm LOLing about... "Uhh, the clown with the sore ass, boss." "No boss, not circus porn. Internet stalker."

Elaine Ellis
Elaine Ellis

Well said Erika. There are a lot of creepy people out there. It'll be interesting to know if the stalker recognizes himself in your post. Seems to be a really deluded person.

Elaine Ellis
Elaine Ellis

Well said Erika. There are a lot of creepy people out there. It'll be interesting to know if the stalker recognizes himself in your post. Seems to be a really deluded person.

redheadwriting
redheadwriting

@James - welcome to The Redhead :) Glad you found me. @Rick - Hey there! You're no kitten by any means, buddy! @Todd - you make excellent point in your distinction between friends and fans - thank you for sharing with my readers.

The Redhead
The Redhead

@James - welcome to The Redhead :) Glad you found me. @Rick - Hey there! You're no kitten by any means, buddy! @Todd - you make excellent point in your distinction between friends and fans - thank you for sharing with my readers.

James NomadRip
James NomadRip

I have no idea who you are. I just clicked a random twitter message that had your name on it. That is the first thing of yours or about you I have read. And it was brilliant.

James NomadRip
James NomadRip

I have no idea who you are. I just clicked a random twitter message that had your name on it. That is the first thing of yours or about you I have read. And it was brilliant.

Rick Butts
Rick Butts

Jackassery! I thought I was bold, but compared to you - I am a weak kneed kitten. Though I did use vomit-worthy today in Twitter to describe this dreadfully cheesy Beverly Hills bee-atch's make believe papparazzi video to sell her $1000 B.S. social media course. Thanks Erika

Rick Butts
Rick Butts

Jackassery! I thought I was bold, but compared to you - I am a weak kneed kitten. Though I did use vomit-worthy today in Twitter to describe this dreadfully cheesy Beverly Hills bee-atch's make believe papparazzi video to sell her $1000 B.S. social media course. Thanks Erika

toddquest
toddquest

Sucks that you had to go through that. This concept of "Friend" on the internet is perhaps were some of the confusion lies. A friend is some that you do things with, someone with whom you share an experience, someone you can trust and someone that can also trust you. What most of the people, that we come in contact with on the internet, can be best be called acquaintances. People with whom we exchanged greetings, people that we know a little about, people with which we have had a dialog. Another group of people would be that of fans. This is where one person follows the activities of another in anonymity or perhaps with posting a reply such as this one. With the level of interaction that the internet provides it could be easy to assume that such interaction is more than a simple congenial response. Personally I have never met you or even had any sort of exchange of ideas aside from reading what you put on twitter or commenting on something from Facebook. I would call myself one of your readers. I enjoy your wit and unabashed style of writing. Keep up the good work so long as it serves you well, heal up that leg and know that your readership supports you :D

toddquest
toddquest

Sucks that you had to go through that. This concept of "Friend" on the internet is perhaps were some of the confusion lies. A friend is some that you do things with, someone with whom you share an experience, someone you can trust and someone that can also trust you. What most of the people, that we come in contact with on the internet, can be best be called acquaintances. People with whom we exchanged greetings, people that we know a little about, people with which we have had a dialog. Another group of people would be that of fans. This is where one person follows the activities of another in anonymity or perhaps with posting a reply such as this one. With the level of interaction that the internet provides it could be easy to assume that such interaction is more than a simple congenial response. Personally I have never met you or even had any sort of exchange of ideas aside from reading what you put on twitter or commenting on something from Facebook. I would call myself one of your readers. I enjoy your wit and unabashed style of writing. Keep up the good work so long as it serves you well, heal up that leg and know that your readership supports you :D

redheadwriting
redheadwriting

@Amy- I'll be adding this blog to the Networked Blogs on Facebook soon. Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed. Please feel free to share!

The Redhead
The Redhead

@Amy- I'll be adding this blog to the Networked Blogs on Facebook soon. Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed. Please feel free to share!

Amy
Amy

Very well said, I hope you don't mind if I link it on my Facebook and give it to all the strangers that IM me out of nowhere. I'd love to follow your blog on Facebook if you use Networked Blogs. You are very funny.

Amy
Amy

Very well said, I hope you don't mind if I link it on my Facebook and give it to all the strangers that IM me out of nowhere. I'd love to follow your blog on Facebook if you use Networked Blogs. You are very funny.

Alice H
Alice H

Does it make me a stalker if I post a comment on this? ;) Seriously, thank you for summing this up - it makes a nice handy "hey, go read this".

Alice H
Alice H

Does it make me a stalker if I post a comment on this? ;) Seriously, thank you for summing this up - it makes a nice handy "hey, go read this".

Mike
Mike

My ass thanks you.

Mike
Mike

My ass thanks you.

MindyMom
MindyMom

Well said! Btw, I just *bounced* someone's IP to that very page on dictionary.com. And another to fuckoff.com. Not only can these people be purged from your other social media outlets but they can be redirected from (conveniently) reading your blog.

MindyMom
MindyMom

Well said! Btw, I just *bounced* someone's IP to that very page on dictionary.com. And another to fuckoff.com. Not only can these people be purged from your other social media outlets but they can be redirected from (conveniently) reading your blog.

Tim
Tim

Dude, it's almost like the car keys ARE the petting zoo.

Tim
Tim

Dude, it's almost like the car keys ARE the petting zoo.

Trackbacks

  1. […] propriety have become inarguably blurred by technology. I addressed this awhile back in a diatribe/personal memoir on online stalking, but think it bears repeating in a slappier tone. So let me rack my Bitch Slapping hand like a […]

  2. […] propriety have become inarguably blurred by technology. I addressed this awhile back in a diatribe/personal memoir on online stalking, but think it bears repeating in a slappier tone. So let me rack my Bitch Slapping hand like a […]