Being stalked on Facebook is not a pleasant experience. I wonder in actual fact how many people have been stalked on Facebook? When one thinks about stalking the first scenario which pops to mind is one of a man obsessively following a woman with some sort of physically abusive intent.
But stalking actually takes many different forms. In fact, something which happens more frequently than you might expect is that someone begins to stalk you on Facebook. So many of us share photographs and an immense amount of our lives in written format on social sharing sites such as Facebook or through placing blog posts. Sometimes this is simply a social thing which we do; at other times this type of social posting is part of your business networking and marketing of your business interests.
You do not tend to get stalked by complete strangers whether you are being stalked in person or being stalked on Facebook; there is usually a tie of some description, loose though it may be. Thus it comes as a bit of a surprise when you are in the latter category (posting for business purposes) and you get stalked. But, if it has happened to you and you are aware that you have been the subject of Facebook stalking, when you look back you will realize with hindsight that it is far easier for the stalker to go about their sleuth work when you are intent upon and distracted by your business goals.
This is what happened to me. When your intent is networking or viral marketing you aren’t vetting every “friend request” very closely. If you were just using Facebook or your blog for personal reasons you would only accept real friend requests from people you know in person or only reveal your blog to close friends. And so I accepted as a friend a faceless request and they proceeded to hover over my photographs, blog posts and web pages with a jealous obsession of which I was at first blissfully unaware. I was being stalked on Facebook for more than a few months before I fully realized what was happening.
I had in fact attempted to keep my Facebook profile one which was oriented towards “business only” activity. But inevitably, over time, your guard slips and you begin to think that it won’t matter if some of your friends are on there too. Not only that, many of your friends want to be there so as to assist you in virally marketing your business. In hindsight, I was far too trusting in the goodness of human nature.
It becomes very easy to stalk, and to be stalked, in these circumstances. Here the would-be-stalker is, sitting at home on Friday night, wondering perhaps what their ex is doing with their life. They find themselves drawn to Facebook and search for their name; up pops their page where you can see photos of all of their friends. Now you begin to wonder who those friends are. Which one is the new girlfriend? How does he know her or she know him? Starting to stalk or being stalked on Facebook is so damnably easily done.
It doesn’t take long to figure out who’s who when you have access to those pages on Facebook and a masochistic motivation to know more than is in fact good for you. It only takes a few more lonely weekends for you to consider it acceptable to create a bogus profile and begin to stalk on an on-going basis. I’m sure the stalker doesn’t see it as stalking and can find many a justification for their actions. But come on now, face reality, face the facts. You created a faceless page because you knew wanted to hide your identity. You knew you were totally out of line and your shadowy presence unwanted.
I was in fact amazed by the extreme anger I felt upon discovering my stalker. I was absolutely livid and in fact am still very galled by their nerve. I am normally a pretty peaceful person with a “live and let live” nature; I can put myself in the other’s shoes quite easily and automatically, and yet I found myself dealing with an instinctive desire to completely crush this person. In actual fact this is the normal “fight or flight” reaction kicking in at times of threat; being stalked on Facebook is a threat, same as if you are being followed down the street, and your mind and body instinctively ready themselves to fight back with everything that you’ve got!
I am reminded of a friend who had a slightly different experience but displayed the same livid emotional reaction. Another woman had persisted in telephoning and asking her and her husband to dinner. Again and again she called; again and again she happened to appear in the park outside their house. My friend explained that this other woman had an unveiled interest on her husband; she was in fact being stalked as a way to try to get to her husband.
She was not threatened by this in terms of making her fear losing her husband as they have a very solid relationship. But she found the whole situation totally insulting and was outraged that another woman could act like that towards her. Her emotions were so strong that she said she could not be in the same room as this woman without verbally ripping into her.
At the time I must admit that I thought her reaction was a bit over the top. As we discussed this whole stalking scenario, I pointed out that it wasn’t even worth worrying about; this woman’s interest in her husband was never going to be a real threat to her. Her response was that I had too forgiving a nature; that I was too open and trusting. As she said, who needs friends who would treat you like that? Why would you open the door to them?
Now that I have been subjected to a stalking experience myself, all be it via Facebook and not in person, I am totally with her; I find my forgiving nature has deserted me.
What I found doubly ironic was that in the final email exchange on Facebook (the one which made me realize that this so called friend was in fact stalking me) she attempted to say I was being untruthful when I did not answer her question in the way that she wished. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! She’d been lying and deceiving me intentionally for months whilst stalking me on Facebook.
She was in fact so determined to push me to agree with her viewpoint that she unwittingly revealed her identity. She was immediately deleted as a friend and the door slammed in her face. She will however still be able to stalk me to a degree. I will no longer be stalked by her on Facebook, but for my business I do post articles on my blog. In fact, I would wager a rather large bet that she reads this very article almost as soon as it is posted.
I rather hope that, as well as being embarrassed by her atrocious behavior, she has now realized that stalking me has never actually done her any good, and will perhaps recognize that it is high time to seek help with her insecurities and obsessions. She will maybe also realize that her own emotional baggage is what stops her from nurturing positive relationships.
To protect yourself against being stalked on Facebook, everyone should take at least a few basic precautions. Make sure there are recent photos to be seen, check that there are a fair number of friends, how long they have been on Facebook and what type of activity they have been involved in whilst on Facebook.
Roseanna Leaton, specialist in self hypnosis mp3 downloads for relationship issues.
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