UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | July 18, 2024

Easy access to social media creates stalking habits

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Stalking people on social media is kind of like eating Taco Bell — it’s so satisfying in the moment, but afterward, we feel greasy and pathetic. 

Also, like Taco Bell, the act of social media creeping seems to arise at low, stressful or dull periods in life. Can we just all agree that we indulge in naughty social media behavior, and Taco Bell, at times when we are not being our best selves?

OK, I’m glad we got that squared away.

We all need to ease up on the social media stalking. I know how tempting it is to angry-click through all our ex’s photos on Facebook, but let’s be real here, our angry clicking is only hurting ourselves.

I stumbled on the Facebook page of a woman I went to high school with. I loved to hate this woman back in the day. Her parents were ridiculously wealthy, which explains why she always had fresh gel nails and a wardrobe that looked like it belonged on the Nordstrom mannequins. 

It’s safe to say I was jealous.

I found this woman on Facebook years later, and quickly realized I didn’t have to friend her to look at all her photos. I felt like I hit the creeper’s jackpot. I just love when people don’t know how to best utilize privacy settings. Wait, no, stay on track, Lauren.

As I browsed through all of the woman’s photos of her in Africa, of her meeting all the players on the Jazz basketball team, and of her on the Eiffel Tower, envy began to creep in. After a period of time I’m not comfortable admitting to, I started to realize my stalking was directly influencing my mood and even my self esteem at the moment. 

Then I had a come-to-Jesus moment: Social media creeping leaves me feeling icky and should be replaced with a more productive task.

Since this awakening, I’ve made a deal with myself. Every time I have the urge to social media stalk, I’m going to do something productive. I’ll unload the dishwasher, catch up on homework, cook a new recipe or call a family member. Obviously, if I have the time to waste on the internet, I have time to do things to better myself. 

An obvious problem many young people have, myself included, is how to have boundaries on social media. Social media outlets can be powerful in a positive way but only if we can learn how to best utilize the outlets and force ourselves to stop being so nosey.

Just because we have endless access to information about people we love, hate or love to hate, it doesn’t mean stalking that information is going to enrich our lives in any way.