This post was originally written by Theresa in her previous blog, comedyfeminismlipstick.com.
You meet someone you like or you find them online. You’ve never actually seen their face in person, but you like how they talk and how they look and especially how they make themselves appear in this Internet world of curated appearances.
You drool over captions and run-on sentences and strategic placement of emojis.
You scroll back through their Instagram until you get to all the silly overly-filtered photos with the weird borders that are really embarrassing now but everyone used to love them, even artists. You used to love them too.
When you were online dating, you provided enough information to your suitors so that they could cyberstalk you. Now you’re engaged to be married and you’re thinking maybe you got that one particular first date because of how you appeared online. Because of what you’ve written. Because of the words you posted to the Internet.
Sometimes you forget that you have so much content up for the world to see. You stop writing for a couple of months and then you bump into someone and they tell you they spent half a Tuesday procrastinating their to-do list and reading everything on your blog. Everything. It makes you feel a little funny or a little naked, but it reminds you of the reasons you wrote it.
Someone tells you that the show Love on Netflix is like your blog. You’re not really sure what this means, but you’re obsessed with the show and sometimes wonder if they wrote the script based on exactly what was going on in your brain during different stages of your life.
You want people to know that what you write isn’t always personal. It’s satirical and fictional and based on fleeting thoughts. You want them to think this because it feels funny to have so much writing up for the world to see. You consider that maybe how much people are willing to share with the world on the Internet has to do with either their photoshop skill level or how comfortable they are with metaphorical nudity.
But your writing led you to some paid work too, so now you’re thinking maybe cyberstalking got you some of the best things in your life. After all, it led you to your life partner and helped you put some money in the bank for your wedding fund.
You think about how people feel ashamed for cyberstalking others. As if it’s creepy to Google someone you met online before meeting them, instead of a standard safety precaution.
But of course, there’s hate-following too: a sort of sad, addicting form of cyberstalking that you’re pretty sure every millennial is guilty of. You scroll through someone’s Facebook page and make fun of their excessive use of hashtags that no one is searching for. You consider that perhaps the person being hate-followed is in the true power position.
And then you meet this girl virtually who reaches out to you after you comment something entirely sarcastic but actually pretty brilliant on a Facebook thread. You look at her photos and think you’d probably get along. She seems like she might be kind of like you, but she’s strikingly tall and writes in a different voice. You’ve never met her in person, so all you really have is cyberstalking.