Edgar Allen Poe wrote an essay called The Imp of the Perverse on how all human beings share a common struggle of unwanted impulses and urges that cause us to act perversely and do things we might be ashamed of.
In reference to acting on your perverse thoughts Poe writes, “We perpetrate them because we feel that we should not. Beyond or behind this there is no intelligible principle.” With the Internet, our need to act on something we know we shouldn’t is now easier than ever before.
Social media gives us access to details on just about anyone, and our morbid curiosity or “imp of the perverse” makes us look for people that deep down, we don’t really want to find.
Here are 4 people you’ve probably cyberstalked but would never admit to it.
1) Your Partner’s Ex
Ouch. Why would you do that to yourself? If you’re trying to find satisfaction in the fact that you’re cuter, you may wind up tragically disappointed. What if your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend is a model who is also a modern dancer that speaks French and plays the violin? Well then, you’re screwed. And you did it to yourself.
2) The Coffee Shop Hottie
Justify it however you want, but trying to find someone on Facebook whom you’ve never actually talked to, is mild cyberstalking. Approaching a coffee shop crush can be intimidating, as they sit there on a Macbook Air laptop with their $300 headphones listening to some super cool hipster band that you’ve probably never heard of. Ugh.
You social media snooped because you felt inferior and needed a winning conversation starter—we understand. It’s still cyberstalking, though.
3) Your Ex
This is quite possibly the most perverse act of social media spying. You can’t even get away with the innocent excuse of, “I just wanted to see which bands they listened to.” You already know everything there is to know about your ex-boy/girlfriend. Social media snooping on someone you already know really well is just straight up stalking.
4) Your Boss
You’re dying for a winning conversation opener that will catapult you from disposable employee to inner circle ally in the eyes of the boss. But to do that, you need some insider info. Innocently enough, you looked them up on Facebook just to see their favorite band, travel destination, or what movie he/she might have seen that weekend. Then you start your Monday morning off with “OMG I went to see Lincoln this weekend. Daniel Day Lewis is so going to win a Golden Globe. Oh you saw it too? How weird is that?”
It’s totally stalker-y. But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do to get ahead, right?
Social Media Isn’t the Only Way To Go
If you’ve cyberstalked one of the four people mentioned above, (you know you have) then you might as well stop living in denial and fully embrace your own creepiness. Ready to go to the next level? If you really want to know more, criminal background checks are the way to go.
Think about it. A person’s Facebook or Twitter account is only going to show you what they want people to see. But a background check can reveal so much more. Do you think the new dude you’re flirting with is going to tell you about the time he was arrested for selling weed? How much satisfaction would you get from discovering that since you broke up, your ex got busted for a DUI?
It’s not cruel, it’s curiosity, and it’s perfectly natural. Satisfy your craving for information and just background check them already!
Jessica Ruane is a blogger and social media specialist for Instant Checkmate, an online background check company.