Stop Using the Word Stalker

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Madonna in ArgentinaI just had a very honest conversation with an HR professional. I told her to stop using the word ‘stalker’ to describe aggressive job seekers. That’s not fair. These are tough times.

Then there was a weird trend on Twitter, last week. The hashtag was #thingsstalkersdo.

It’s funny how most of us are stalkers at one point or another in our lives. We forget about our own aggressive behavior — especially on social media sites where we are all narcissists who want to be viewed and adored — and casually label unwanted attention from people as stalking.

I hate that.

I see the label applied too quickly to people who are ugly, fat and too eager to be our friends. We put ourselves out there — LOOK AT ME! COMPLIMENT ME! — and then criticize the casual and generally nice viewers who respond too aggressively.

Are some people too aggressive in life? Duh. On Facebook? Yes. Are some people too connected via Twitter? Yes x200.

Are they stalkers? No.

You are not Madonna. Nobody really gives a shit about what you do on Facebook. And stalkers are most often men and women who already know you. They are ex-husbands and ex-wives who are mentally ill and depressed. They are former friends and coworkers who are obsessed, unhinged and seriously dangerous. It’s not a joke and it’s not a word to be used lightly.

Most people who interact with you online or try to contact you IRL have real reasons for reaching out to you. Sometimes they need something from you that you cannot give them. (A job.) Sometimes they are your fan. (Whether you want them to be or not.) Sometimes they are just lonely. (Who isn’t lonely on occasion?)

But that’s life. I don’t feel sorry for you and I don’t like your casual use of the word stalker. You don’t want people to notice you? Well then you should really set boundaries. And while you’re at it, get over yourself and lock your shit down.

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