Is it just me? Am I the only one who feels like I’m stalking people? That is probably near the worst of things I personally could do to some other human being, and I accept that my reluctance to ‘stalk’, or even ‘follow’ has been heavily influenced by those who had no hesitation to stalk me.
It’s not a nice experience being stalked. Being followed, watched, talked about, threatened, generally unable to live your own life without knowing full well that everything I do is noted. I had a shadow hanging over me. Actually I had two shadows and that just made the intensity greater.
Recently I (finally) signed up with Twitter. This is a big step for me. I knew it would be good to get my blog further out into the wider world but had been putting off the big step for a while. It took me forever to join Facebook, as a few of my in-real-life friends can tell you. I only joined because one friend was constantly on at me that this would be a great way for us to stay in touch (we don’t live near each other). The ironic thing though is that it hasn’t really worked that way. Sure, she sees my posts and I see hers, I see what she likes and she (I guess) sees what I like. I see updated photos of her kids and that’s nice. I can’t believe how fast they grow. But that’s about it. We really don’t communicate directly with each other much. And I have to admit that lack of direct communication, coupled with the ability to simply watch is a little off-putting for me. Probably some of that is just that neither of us have the time. I think that’s okay because our lives have headed in different directions that are perhaps hard for the other to comprehend, but I still feel a little sad that it didn’t turn out like it was promised.
That aside though, joining Facebook was a good thing for me, and as well as putting me back in contact with people from the past, it has also given me the opportunity to ‘meet’ a whole lot of other people who have become very special to me (even though we have never met). It also enabled me to get involved in mental health support groups. This was very important in continuing to work on my own recovery as well as now being able to help others.Unfortunately, because I now run two groups on Facebook, I regularly come across trolls, or people who create a false identity in order to create chaos in social media sites. The chaos that is caused by these people, and I’ve had a few who were expert in their field, puts me off the whole Facebook thing entirely. I’m not about to leave Facebook because the good outweighs the bad, but it reminds me daily that we don’t really know who we are interacting with across the internet. Really nothing much can prove an internet identity and I am constantly wary. Gut feeling counts for a lot but even then, a couple of times I have been badly wrong.
So now I enter into the world of Twitter. Three days on, and I am following 12 people and I am getting tired already of being asked to follow the New Zealand All Blacks (our national rugby team). I’m a rare kiwi in that I am not interested in their every move but I suspect Twitter is going to keep asking me to follow them. No! Back to the point though, I have this feeling in my stomach that I am stalking those 12 I have followed. They didn’t give me permission to ‘follow’ them. I just chose to. I know what it is like to be followed and frankly I’m not comfortable with it.
The other side is, of course, that while only one is following me so far, I am kind of relieved. Don’t get me wrong. If you are a friend I am happy for you to follow me but… maybe if Twitter could just use a different term I might feel more comfortable. There is also a reverse to this that I must confess. One person is following me! Wow! How many people on Twitter have only one follower? How sad is that? I know, I know, I can’t be satisfied either way.
(And don’t get me wrong. I want to interact with both friends and yet-to-be-friends through social media. It’s just that this voice of caution is always sitting on my shoulder. I’m also not afraid of anyone in particular. It’s simply a cloud of, perhaps, irrational fear generated from years of looking over that shoulder.)
I’m going to say this although I fear what your reaction might be. This bind of not wanting to be followed, yet wanted to be followed is something that happens with real stalking too, and I am only too well aware of it. Not for one moment would I suggest that being stalked is a pleasant experience because it’s anything but. Somewhere deep inside, for someone who was full of self hate and doubt, the concept that someone (or two) thought I was worth stalking really did my head in. When I felt unloved by others in my life there was this tiny voice that said ‘well, they will love you’. Sick as it is, and I hate it immensely, it’s just one of the many ways that stalking really gets to you. It becomes impossible to know what is real and what is not. And they didn’t really love me. It was an obsession that was anything but love, but the mind plays powerful games.
But again, back to Twitter. 🙂
What do I do? I don’t like the idea of people knowing what I’m doing, without me knowing that they are watching. Would I be better forgetting Twitter? Or should I stick it out? Is it just me? Even though I have come a million miles forward to recovery from my lengthy stalking experience, am I just letting it trip me up? If you have any thoughts on this I would love to hear them. I need some rational input into what is perhaps slightly irrational.
Meanwhile, my Twitter account is set up and my blog posts are going there, but do I feel comfortable? Not entirely.
PS. I should add that Skype totally does my head in too, although I can see benefits. The idea of someone, not physically with me, being able to see me sitting at my computer? No, that’s way to freaky for me. No doubt though, like Facebook and Twitter, eventually I will give in to this when I someone gives me a good enough reason to abandon such founded but still irrational fear.
All that said, I don’t find WordPress is a problem, so maybe it is all just irrational.
- Stalked… But Still Hiding Some Of Me (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)