YOUNG VOICES: Facebook helps take snooping to a new level

2012-12-10T00:00:00Z YOUNG VOICES: Facebook helps take snooping to a new levelBy Carmen Siew nwitimes.com
December 10, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The importance of social media has been truly discussed ad nauseum.

Nevertheless, many of these conversations fail to examine the most time-consuming social media activity: “Facebook creeping.” This term was affectionately coined by those who do it best.

For anyone removed from the millennial world, Facebook creeping usually involves taking a casual peruse of a friend’s post many steps too far. It is usually done in secret or admitted somewhat sheepishly if discovered. This well-intentioned curiosity typically ends up farther down the rabbit hole than anyone likes to admit.

While Facebook users realize that they are participating in a public forum, there is still a veil of pretend privacy that manages to exist. It is encouraged to use Facebook as a means to figure out whether that attractive guy from accounting also likes the movie "(500) Days of Summer" (he doesn’t), but there are certain socially acceptable boundaries crossed more often than not (i.e. creeping).

If you have found yourself looking at pictures from 2009 of your best friend’s cousin’s boyfriend, I’m writing directly to you.

The following represents a common example of accidentally-on-purpose “hardcore” creeping. The scenario begins when a classmate casually posts several pictures of her recent Friday night excursion. One innocent little click leads to another, and two hours later you've managed to look through her entire profile without any idea why or how you’re currently scrolling through a photo album from her brother’s eighth grade dance.

Creeping on social media is such a widespread activity that having conversations with friends about the level of creepiness each of us have attained is becoming normal.

Recently I've even begun to learn that our Facebook-creeping skills are beginning to reach new heights. Many of us have become experts at sifting through hours of essentially useless information, but now some have branched out to become true professionals of reconnaissance.

This new area of expertise involves finding profiles of casual acquaintances with very limited information. There are millions of Facebook users with a surprisingly large number of repeated names, and logically, one would deem finding the profile of an unnamed male fleetingly caught sight of across the room at a recent scholarship banquet impossible. However, I am happy to report that a friend recently achieved this feat and will soon be inducted into Facebook’s Ultimate Creep of Fame.

Facebook’s humble beginnings as a tool to figure out who is on or off the relationship market have morphed into a platform with so much more potential. Now you can discover if the guy you’re interested in is single and also check out Instagrammed pictures of his neighbor’s aunt’s last meal. Hypothetically, of course.

To my fellow Facebook creeps, I salute you.

Carmen Siew of Crown Point is a sophomore at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in Bloomington. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.

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