The Concept of Creeping (aka, why it’s okay to look at people’s Facebook pictures)

Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve gotten quite a few messages like these ones:

“Thomas, I love your blog! Your posts remind me of cotton candy and bath towels. I hope you don’t think I’m a stalker.” – anonymous commenter.

“Your post about high school relationships really made me reevaluate my own romantic tendencies. You’re so lucky you only date fictional characters – obviously Alec Lightwood, Mr. Rochester, Sam Roth, etc. belong to you. Sorry for creeping, ha ha.” – some nice person who recognizes what/who is rightfully mine.

“Not to be a total creeper but I am astounded by your lack of a life. Go back to reading books or something, this blog is just plain bad.” – my self-esteem.

Okay, obviously none of those are true quotes besides the last one. But they all share a common theme – people apologize or feel awkward for reading my blog. Due to society’s standards, people express a sense of shame for looking at my work.

I understand this. People hear about online stalkers or internet creeps all the time. This sinks into their subconscious. They get the notion that if you’re looking at somebody else’s information online without telling them, you’re being a “stalker” or a “creep.”

Cute creeper cat! Isn’t my best friend’s cat adorable? Yep, I’m using this post as an excuse to post a random picture of a cat. Meow.

Which might be true. By definition, to creep is to “approach slowly, imperceptibly, or stealthily.” To stalk is to “proceed in a steady, deliberate, or sinister manner.” If you’re carrying out the more negative meaning of stalking, such as compiling information to hurt someone, that’s not okay.

But being a “stalker” or a “creeper” in itself is fine! Just because someone puts up random personal pictures of themselves on Facebook all the time does not mean you can’t look at them. Just because I write about heavy subjects that hit close to home does not mean that you can’t read my posts. People post Facebook photos so that other people can see them – why do apps like Instagram exist, if it’s not to enhance the attractiveness of photos people can share through social networking? Why do people feel insecure when their photos and posts aren’t liked or commented on?

As for my blog, I publish material here to express myself and receive feedback as well as other opinions. I don’t publish material on this blog to sit and stare at my computer screen while no one reads it.

There is this predetermined notion in society that looking at someone else’s pictures or their personal information is wrong. It’s like people have this perverse sense of superiority that they can resist looking at their friends’ Facebook photos – when, in reality, we’re simply curious creatures by nature who enjoy getting to know each other better. Social animals, sort of. We all need to accept that there’s nothing wrong with lurking around the internet for our amusement and for the purpose of enhancing our knowledge of other people. If an individual wished to keep their things to themselves, they could simply use the private setting on their pictures or posts – or, they could get a scrapbook. Or a diary.

Notice the amount of stalkers, er, followers Justin Bieber has on Twitter. He was underage only a few months ago…

Let me reiterate: if you are obsessively looking at and searching for someone’s information to harm them, hurt them, or steal from them – that’s not okay. Otherwise, they put themselves out there so you might as well go for it.

Agree or disagree? Thoughts? Any experiences in which you felt like a creeper or a stalker? I recently got a Formspring, which was the cause of much controversy awhile ago. Feel free to creep on me there!

Here are some fictional quotes that would actually make me concerned for my safety:

“Thomas, the next time you say the world ‘pulchritudinous’, I am going to set fire to your bookshelf. And your socks.” – menacing old lady.

“Thomas, I am aroused by the way your eyelashes flutter when you sleep at night.” – Eduardo Cull.


Filed under Society

11 responses to “The Concept of Creeping (aka, why it’s okay to look at people’s Facebook pictures)

  1. invisiblesimmer

    A couple years ago, I felt like looking at friend’s facebook profiles was creepy and not right but now I’m just like if there’s something you don’t want people to see, then you shouldn’t have put it on the internet!

    • Yes, I completely agree! I think with more time on the internet people are becoming inured to the idea that what is put online is free game for others who can legally view it.

  2. I’ve said something along these line to you before, an now that you’ve pointed it out I realized I’ve kind of misused the word “stalker-ish” which isn’t a word really but you get what it says. This post puts some of my nerves at ease.

    You’re the first person I’ve ever heard use the word ‘pulchritudinous’, and the only person at that too, it’s a pretty nice word (I’d looked it up).

  3. Leaving pictures and personal information is a way to reach out and say, “hello world, I love to make new friends and get reaquainted with old friends – welcome to my world.” When we respond and reply with sane and thoughtful responses a new friendship is born and an old one is rekindled.

    A stalker or creep is one who goes beyond established norms and insists that the person return unwanted advances and doesn’t respect the Facebook friend or bloggers boundaries.

    • I see… I agree with your comment. I guess it’s just that in my social circles and around the web the teenagers commonly interpret creeping/stalking as simply looking at other people’s photos without telling them. The context that the word is used in does matter, I suppose. Thank you for reading and commenting as always!

  4. Rebekah Lee

    This blog post made me laugh a lot and it was so much fun to read. I loved, “I don’t publish material on this blog to sit and stare at my computer screen while no one reads it.” In my mind I thought, “There’s the clincher to this post!” Anyways, I always enjoy reading/”creeping” on your blog posts but this one was by far the most entertaining because of your photo captions- particularly “Meow”. Hahaha, keep it up Thomas!

    • Oh gosh, clincher – that reminds me of AP Lang and how I’m failing to use proper format when I write my posts here. -_- But, I’m glad that you enjoyed reading this post Rebekah! Thanks for taking the time to comment. (:

  5. I find it ironic that I remembered your blog because I was stalking viewing your Facebook. =P

    I definitely agree though. If it’s out there on the public net, then the person obviously doesn’t care if you see it. If they didn’t want you seeing their photos from last night’s party, they wouldn’t have put them in a public photo album.

    • Ha ha, perhaps I should publicize on Facebook more then? (;

      Yes, exactly – some things should simply be kept off of the internet and the public’s view!

  6. Anonymous

    I agree with the general idea of this blog post, though I always perceived stalking as being a bad thing so I’d never really say it’s okay to be a stalker.

    I agree the concept is overused, and indirectly judgemental of people that observe more than than take part. Why the questioning or the almost accusationary tones towards those people? A lot of people “creeping” aren’t very popular, they’re just trying to watch others a bit and it seems just self-gratifying to say how dare they.

    If someone had a show on tv and you knew them before, would it be “creeping” to watch their show? Of course not, once a person makes it public then everyone should view it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s