You’d never internet snoop, right?
Of course not. Neither would I.
Everyone knows it’s the modern-day equivalent of driving slowly past someone’s house. None of us ever do that sort of thing. Especially googling exes, or your high school arch-nemesis. I would never look up someone on LinkedIn because I want to guess their age, or go so deep into their Facebook page that everyone in the pictures is partying like it’s 2007. Even worse, looking up their Bebo or Myspace. I have better things to do than cyber-snoop. Only losers do that.
Right? <insert shifty eye motion>
Ok, so I won’t tell if you don’t tell. And while we’re being all honest and stuff about internet snooping I think we need to have an honest conversation about what to do when you get caught. It’s the modern-day equivalent of driving slowly past someone’s house and breaking down outside, but worse, because you can’t get down all low and hide in the backseat of the car.
Someone might be talking about that time they went to Spain, and you might say “oh, you were in Majorca, wasn’t it?” Then, there is an awkward silence filled with virtual tumbleweeds as you realise they never actually told you about where they went. You know because you are a snoop. Or, the time you meet someone for the first time but already know about them because they came up as a Person You May Know and have terrible security settings. So much so you know that they like Ed Sheeran and ate dinner last Saturday at that new bistro downtown, which you accidentally mention to them. Even worse: looking at someone’s page and your big fat clumsy thumb knocks the ‘like’ button on a post from January 2010, three years before you had even met them. Oh, the shame.
This one time I got a notification that a guy I barely know had liked one of my posts from 2009. I believe this is called the 'deep like' and is not recommended if you want to pretend you're nonchalant.
What, then to do?
I think you have three options:
1. Diversion. You could start dancing the funky chicken with reckless abandon; no-one would remember your wee slip-up after that. All they would remember was your arms and legs moving in a synchronized, funky motion. Pros of this approach: it would deflect from your slip-up. Cons of this approach: if they remember your slip up later on, they will just think you are not only a stalker but a stalker that dances the funky chicken. On balance, it’s probably not worth the risk.
2. Pretend it never happened. Maybe they won’t notice. The one time I’ve been caught internet snooping, this was what I did. I pretended it never happened, recoiled in shame, and resolved to reform my snooping ways. I don’t know if the person even noticed, which is one problem with this approach. You never actually find out ’cause you’re too busy pretending it never happened.
3. Brazen it out. I met a guy earlier in the year that slipped up and mentioned the second language that I speak. Huh, I said. I never told you that. He just shrugged and said “LinkedIn”. No funky chicken, no pretending like it had never happened. This is the modern day equivalent of having your car break down, getting out, and knocking on the front door and ask to use the bathroom. In fact, him being so brazen was a good reminder to me to actually check what I had online, not to mention kick-starting an interesting conversation about the aforementioned second language.
Maybe next time this is what I will do. Maybe.
Although, this is all theoretical, as none of us actually internet snoop.