If online stalking were an art form, I’d be Michelangelo. With the click of a few buttons I can find out your booty call’s middle name, hometown, and actual relationship status, most likely within the sixty second mark.
And it isn’t just me. Ask any girl out there with a smartphone and twenty minutes of free time and I’d bet money she could do the same. Social media is a beautiful, beautiful monster that we’ve become absolute pros at navigating for information about people’s shady lives. We do it for other girls, too, not just guys. How am I supposed to know if you have more outfits I might want to borrow if I can’t stalk your Insta? And while I know plenty of assholes who scorn this ability, or say it’s completely useless or a waste of time, they’re wrong.
How do I know this? Because I’m a professional Facebook stalker. Not a joke. This is real life.
I got the job a week after I graduated from college with credentials that included going to class tipsy and a perfected walk of shame route. My mom found the ad on Craigslist and sent it to me in the deluge of emails that she was sending in those days in a concentrated effort to stop me from being fun-employed. I read the description, sent in my résumé, and scored an interview.
“How much time do you spend online per day?” was one of the first questions. It was the kind of question you know no one really answers truthfully. You lie, in an effort to sound more focused and “well-rounded,” and so you don’t have to admit to a potential employer that you spent three hours watching cat videos on YouTube this morning. I, however, decided to go for the gold and answer honestly.
“A lot,” ended up being the perfect answer. These people needed me to know my shit when it came to tracking people down online, and after years of finding PNM’s on Facebook, it was like taking candy from a corporate baby. I took a brief test during the interview to see how much information I could find on someone in about fifteen minutes. They gave me a name and an email address and when they came back I had already filled out a page and a half on the guy, including where he’d gone on vacation last year, what he enjoyed doing in his spare time, and the name of his ex-girlfriend. What was a normal way for me to spend fifteen minutes ending up seriously impressing these people, and they hired me.
All of those stalking skills that people tell you you’ll never use in real life? They all came into play here. I began spending my days scanning Twitter and Tumblr and everything in between, which was normal, except for the fact that I was now getting paid for it.
I understand we can’t all be so lucky to score this kind of gig right out of the gate, and I will (probably) want to move on at some point and do something else, but the next time anyone tells you that scrolling through your phone hot on the trail of some elusive blonde you saw him with isn’t worth your time—trust me, it is..
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