I’m a Google stalker.

I think I’m addicted to stalking people on Google. I can’t stop. And yes, I’m looking up old boyfriends, but I’m also stalking old roommates, people I used to work with when I was a teenager, college professors, and distant cousins. Most of the time I’m not even finding out anything interesting, and I’m not making contact with anyone. I’m just staring at their profile pictures on Facebook, finding out what they donated to the presidential election, or checking out how much they paid for their house. I feel bad and vaguely dirty because of this, although I’m not sure why. How can I stop?

There’s nothing wrong with stalking people as long as you’re not actually stalking stalking them. I don’t advocate driving by someone’s house at 3 am with night-vision goggles on and a roll of duct tape and a duffel bag in the trunk, but if you want to poke around on Zillow and see how much your summer-camp romance and his wife paid for their house on Nantucket, who’s being harmed? You’re just gathering information! You’re mildly curious!

But if you’re feeling yucky and dirty (seriously, there are a LOT of other things on the internet that are much yuckier and dirtier), and you feel like it’s interfering in your life, then I guess you should stop. Maybe you should spend your normal stalking time doing something positive, like emailing an old friend to see how she’s doing, or writing letters to your senator about how pathetic it is that there are people in this country being denied healthcare because they filled out their insurance forms wrong.

It kind of sounds like you’re so dedicated to dinking around in the past because you’re miserable in the present; I think if you made some little efforts to improve your actual life, you might not be so interested in immersing yourself in other peoples’.

 

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