#313 Gawker Stalker
Wednesday 12th March, 2008
What is Facebook stalking?
Think of Facebook as your own personal friendship map. The hills, roads and plains of your friendship contacts all connected by ‘pretty’ little Facebook byways of networks, associations and affiliations.
Sometimes it is nice to go cross-country. To search beyond the familiar territory that is your accepted network of friends; i.e. those who have accepted a ‘friend request’ and with whom you have a ‘legitimate’, or at least acknowledged Facebook association.
Recently Facebook’s privacy settings have become more ‘complex’. There was a time back in the heady days of Facebook newbie-ness when networks were ‘closed’ to those outside of specific locations or university and work associations, but individual users were for the most part still discoverable and ‘viewable’. Today there are differentials with how users order their profile image and seekability. Google can pick up your Facebook profile (if you haven’t already tweaked your privacy settings this is worth a check out now. And it’s always fun ‘googling’ yourself) and even if you are hidden from Google, anyone in the same network; location, education association etc can find your profile. Also worth bearing in mind is that if you have ‘blocked’ other networks from showing where you are, someone may have access to the same network as yourself via a ‘friend’, or ‘friend of friend’; complicated this networking and being networked stuff non?!
You are free to act the mysterion and ‘deny’, ‘deny’, ‘deny’ other users by being completely hidden from Google, networks and any other Facebook attempts to track you down. Keep in mind, as cunning as this strategy is, if you post and/or belong to Facebook groups you have a detectable presence. So to be truly ‘hidden’ would be to not interact at all on Facebook. This kind of defeats the purpose and beauty of social networking.
So, where does this leave Facebook ‘stalking’? As a general definition this is checking out another users profile you are not ‘friends’ with. BUT you can Facebook stalk ‘friends’ too; peeping at their walls (Facebook makes this easy with ‘see wall-to-wall option), viewing their friend lists etc. all covert operations and ‘stalker-ish’. When this crosses the line is with unacceptable behaviour and harassment; e.g. too much poking, obnoxious and unwelcome well posts, spam messaging. Everything else that Facebook supports and encourages via the news and minifeed revelations is perfectly acceptable and expected operandi of surveillance.
When you find yourself cruising through friends of friends, friend lists then you have yourself 1. an addiction and 2. have probably crossed the line into stalker territory. Time to head back to your familiar Facebook scenery.Tweet