You see her walk into the classroom and sit in front of you. You’re so enamored by her appearance that you ask to borrow her Play-Doh. Before you know it, it’s time for recess. Fast forward 20 years and your first love from those early years sends you a friend request on Facebook. Feelings of rejection from your elementary school love resurface. Do you accept that friend request? Do you reject that request? Let’s not be overdramatic, and hopefully you are not still obsessed with your way-back-when love from 20 years ago. However, there’s nothing wrong with wondering what your ex-significant other is up to these days, whether it is their career choices, school choice, or marital status. That is what social media sites, such as Facebook help us accomplish. They serve as points of connection that link friends (or former bfs/gfs) together while helping us garner information that we couldn’t get anywhere else.
So, you accept that friend connection. Do you write something on the wall of your new “friend?” Are you still vindictive of the fact that you were dumped 20 years ago? Do you update your Facebook status to reflect that pain? That is where the fine line exists. Apparently a percentage of Facebook users complete that action to evoke feelings of jealousy that they think their ex-partner might have. According to a poll from UK based Alibi, 58% of Facebook users have looked up and became friends with an ex in the past, with approximately 15% of those users admitting to changing their status to make said ex-partner jealous. Additionally, 39% of those “cyber stalkers” took advantage of social media sites to spread rumors about their ex.
While these figures may seem a bit high, it does bring up the issue of social media sites and the accessibility of information. How much is too much? Use the limited profile section and relevant privacy settings to protect your personal information, whether if it’s from that bitter ex-lover from the 4th grade, or possibility even a future employer. My advice: don’t stalk!