Jon E. Garrett
Writing the future of journalism one post at a time


November 15, 2012

Always feel like somebody’s watching you? You’re right

This is an actual picture of me sleeping. Notice someone is watching over me. RIP Grey Kitty.

What’s up my stalkers? Yep, you heard right. I mean you’re at a website that bears my name, so I’m pretty sure on some level that you’re obsessed with me and have tracked me down to my small outpost on the Internet to bask in the everyday banality of my life and ponder how to get closer to me – or get rid of me entirely so your scumbag brain no longer has to bear the burden of your unwholesome and time-consuming infatuation.

I’m not judging. Unless you have some “Misery” scenarios in mind for me or want to maybe make a cereal bowl out of my giant head, it’s totally cool. As a writer if at least some of you didn’t take an interest in the things that I do I could be back at Taco Bell busy working my way up to steamer like I did in high school.

Besides it’s not just you. Social media have made us so connected that even if we didn’t have the urge before, many of us devote more time to analyzing and studying the taste, opinions, photography choices and dinner of others than our own. For the first time in world history it is actually more difficult to not be connected to someone than it is to.
Don’t believe me? Well, someone did the research and it’s not pretty. University of Western Ontario student Veronika Lukacs completed her Masters’ thesis with a study on just one aspect of those habits – relationships. Results were released in July, and for better or worse they are probably just about what you expected.
Here are some of the highlights as listed by Kate Dubinski of the Niagara Advance in a story she did on Lukacs and her research:

Facebook findings:

48% of people remained friends with their exs on Facebook.
88% creeped their exs.
70% used a mutual friend’s profile or logged in as a mutual friend to creep their ex.
74% tried to creep an ex’s new partner or suspected new partner.
64% said they re-read or analyzed old messages from their ex.
50% deleted pictures of their ex from their profile.
31% posted pictures to try to make their ex jealous.
33% posted a song lyric or quote about their ex as their status.
52% said they were jealous of a picture their ex posted.
70 % of respondents used a mutual friend’s profile to access information on an ex
52 % admitted to jealousy over an ex’s photos,

Pretty creepy huh? It seems like in a world were everyone grows up wanting to be a star the Internet has finally found a way to insure that even the most mundane of us can be the bright brilliant light filling up the dark hole in somebody’s life, or maybe ripping it further asunder with the gravity of our persona. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to throw out that new MacBook, fire up AOL on a Commodore 64 to talk some anonymous crap to anonymous people over a BBS and play Pac-Man instead of -ing anything with Facebook or tweet as the prefix.

We can’t go back to the past though. The Internet Beast has been unleashed and continues to evolve. That means sometimes you’re going to have to read a tweet about what someone is doing in the bathroom or maybe see a picture of your ex doing the unthinkable and having fun without you. So, embrace it. Post pictures of your food and babies on Facebook, tweet about your bathroom habits and check-in publically to your gym. Somebody is probably out there watching who cares. Don’t let all this connectivity keep you up at night. Your stalkers know when you are sleeping anyway.

Amit Agarwal is a personal technology columnist at WSJ India and founder of Digital Inspiration, a widely read tech and how-to blog since 2004. He, like the rest of us, is also a stalker. This ( is perhaps his creepiest contribution to the cause. The correct answer is never by the way.

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Jon E. Garrett



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