In my beginning months at Copypress, I used to leave my skills at the door on my way home. However, things have changed over the last few months to say the least. I went from a normal person to a cyber researcher that even the CIA would envy.
As part of my job I frequent different bloggers’ and editors’ Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages, and even run background checks on a few of them. I generally want to know as much about everyone I work – online and at the office.
Side note: If you are reading this and are a Copypresser, then I have probably done a sufficient amount of online stalking on you as well.
The Phone Story
While I was out one night, my phone was stolen. As most people unfortunately know, when somebody is missing their smartphone it feels as if a part of their soul has been taken. I was no different and felt lost without my trusty S3.
The next morning I checked my phone bill and saw that there was a number dialed at 9:30 am and there were a few texts to the same number a few minutes later. I called that number but no one answered. The voice-mail message had only had the first name – one that I didn’t recognize – so again I was at a loss as to where my phone was.
I decided that it was time to use my cyber-stalking skills to my full advantage.
First, I went on Twitter trying to find out what name was associated with that number and if possibly someone had ever left it in a tweet. Nothing.
Then I tried a few different outreach tactics such as Google searching for blogs with this number in case a blogger had left a contact number. No such luck.
Distraught after this completely failing, I went with a last ditch effort and looked up the number on Facebook…there was a hit! The woman on the voicemail even had a few mutual friends with me, and I proceeded to ask them who this person was. My friends responded that it was a friend of a friend who had been out with us that night.
Stolen may not have been the correct word choice since the phone was returned a day or two later, but when I got it back it had been wiped of all details so it could be. So actually yes, stolen is the correct word that I would use, and I can thank my stalking skills for finding my phone.
Access to endless online information has changed the way I date. I tend to look up a person once we’ve made plans to see if I would even get along with them.
For example, if she is a chronic Facebook complainer, “Worst day ever, I can’t believe the cashier was so rude at Starbucks” then I will immediately come down with some kind of rogue illness to avoid the date.
As far as Twitter goes, I can generally tell if a person is a bit off by what they retweet and tweet. This is more of a safety measure because some people are crazy and ain’t nobody got time for that.
LinkedIn is something that I probably utilize the most to see how much a person embellishes or plays down their job and if they are going to lie during the first or second date about it.
I used to use Facebook to stalk people that I already know and see how they’re doing or how they turned out. Even today, I still use Facebook to make sure former lady friends are less happy than I, but Facebook also tells me things about people by how they post. If all of their posts are riddled with swearing and controversial topics and then then I can’t find their LinkedIn, then I presume that they either have a great job and aren’t interested in new opportunities or have a terrible job and don’t care about work.
At the end of the day, my cyber-research skills have made me analyze the behaviors of my friends via social media. Some may call me a stalker, but I just call it thorough.
And no, I don’t think I’ve crossed the creepiness line.