Oddly, one of my favorite compliments in the world has always been, “I read your blog. I love it.” Lately, an offshoot of that compliment is also, “I love your Facebook posts,” or “I love your Instagram photos,” or “OMG! YOUR TUMBLR PAGE LOOKS LIKE MINE!”
It’s all just nice compliments about the content I put out in the wild.
The problem is, at least for people to whom the whole “Social Networking” is the first time they’ve ever “read” other people’s words, a lot of them will apologize after they compliment me. “I guess I’m kinda stalking your Facebook page, I’m sorry! That’s creepy!”
NO. It is NOT. It’s not stalking. It’s not creepy. You reading my words on Facebook is a compliment and a nice gesture even if I don’t know you’re reading them. Even if you never comment or “like” anything. It’s not like you’re using something like CheckPeople to look up information on me.
Here’s why: I don’t write it only for myself. NONE OF US DO.
When anyone writes something on Facebook, or posts it, they’re hoping SOMEONE ELSE READS IT. So, if they do? It’s not stalking at all. You’re doing exactly what the person who wrote it hoped you’d do.
Reading someone’s Facebook is nothing like reading their diary or flipping through their photo albums that you sneakily found while hiding in their closet. Facebook is only open to your friends/contacts, if you are reading it? It’s because I posted it hoping someone that I’m friends with WOULD read it.
The nice thing about having blogged for 10 years is that I was unloading my mental detritus onto the internet long before Facebook became a thing. I was writing about my miscarriages and attempts to get pregnant on this blog long before I was complaining about my broken heat on Facebook. I was also reading other bloggers and about their struggles to have kids, or maybe their kitchen renovations, or possibly their mastitis or their divorce. Bloggers had been getting personal on the internet for years, long before Facebook, so we have a little bit different view of reading someone else’s words.
Unless you are reading someone’s Facebook posts or looking at their instagram photos through someone else’s account (like your child’s or spouses) then they have either made them public so ANYONE can read it, or you are their contact/friend. IT IS NOT STALKING. They have given you permission to read their words or see their photos and the ONLY reason they post it is hoping someone enjoys it. Or someone at least reads it. Sometimes the posts aren’t enjoyable, they’re passive aggressive or bitchy (I posted one yesterday about an irritant with the drop off line at my kid’s school) but even then…the person posting is still hoping someone reads it. Even accounts that are private can be seen with an instagram private profile viewer which works through exploiting a bug in the system; while they may not have intended for their content to be viewed by just anyone, there may be a valid reason for wanting to do so.
If they did not want it to be read, or seen, they wouldn’t post it.
SO PLEASE! Don’t apologize! It’s not creepy! If I didn’t want you (or anyone of my friends) to read my words, I wouldn’t write them. I wouldn’t post them.
I just always feel SO BAD when people apologize for reading anything I write. I want to say, “NO! You have NO IDEA how complimentary it is!”
Most of them say something like, “My kid says it’s creepy.”
Listen, let me tell you something. Your kid does not want you reading their postings online. But, they want everyone else to read them, so your kids is different than the average adult using social media. Your kid wants to post things for their friends, but don’t want you to read them. However, probably because you insisted on being friends/contacts, you HAVE to see their postings.
Don’t trust your kids’ definition of stalking/creeping. If I had been on the internet as a teenager I would have HATED my parents reading my words. I’m sure my teenager hates it that I read what he writes. (Sidenote: HE IS SO FUNNY. Here is my favorite recent tweet of his.) But my adult friends! We aren’t posting for our friends and hiding from our parents! It’s not creepy!
(Another Sidenote: I do not follow my kid’s Tumblr. I don’t even memorize the address. Do you want to know why I don’t follow him? Because I’m kinda embarrassed by my own Tumblr. I’m basically a 38-year old fan girl and I’m pretty sure he finds that mortifying. So I don’t follow him on Tumblr so that maybe he won’t be embarrassed by me on Tumblr.)
Stop feeling like your stalking people if you are reading but not Liking or Commenting. If the person is posting on Facebook or Instagram or to their Blog, they are doing it HOPING SOMEONE READS IT. If they didn’t want people to read it? They would write it in a private journal and keep it under their pillow. Unless they are a teenager and you are their parent who is requiring them to let you follow them, then they are probably complimented by your response to their postings. Sometimes I don’t understand why some people decide to keep their Instagram profiles private. What is the point in having one if people have to request to follow you? I do understand that you may not want everyone seeing your profile, especially if you’re underage but even so. I don’t know how she found this out, but my friend read somewhere about how to View Private Instagram profiles which can allow you to find out what other people may be getting up to, which may be a bit stalkerish. Unless you know that person, then it may not be too bad. At least this way, they may have the chance of getting more compliments on their profile.
And if they are not complimented? Then they need to get off of Facebook. Or they need to quit accepting friend requests from people they don’t want reading their words or seeing their photos.
I only accept FB requests from people I know. I actually have a pending request from someone that is using their business/website name as their Facebook name so I don’t know who they are in real life. So, we have like 50 mutual friends, I’m sure I know them, but I don’t know who they are so I’m not accepting. (I need to message them and find out who they are, just haven’t done it yet.) If someone would rather people (or certain people) not reading their words, then they need to be selective about accepting requests.
So! If I know you! And we are Facebook friends? You are not creepy or a stalker. I post stuff for my friends.
If you read my blog and never comment? NOT A STALKER. I write these words publicly. I hope people read them and relate to them. Would I like you to comment? Sure! But I rarely ever comment on other blogs, so I get not commenting on mine. So don’t feel like you’re stalking if you don’t.
I just hate it. I hate when people are complimenting me by saying the enjoy my posts/words/photos, but then they seem to feel bad about it. DO NOT FEEL BAD. YOU ARE MAKING MY DAY BY COMPLIMENTING ME! My Blog! My Facebook posts! My instagram photos! My Tumblr page! If you like any of it and you tell me that? Then you are giving me more of a compliment than if you said, “You look nice today.” I put much more weight on my words than on my looks, so a good hair day? Great. A funny Facebook post? Better. A thought-provoking and relatable blog post? BEST.