Its approximately 4:30am and yes, I am awake. I blame it on partaking in an early evening “accidental” nap. When I say “accidental” — its usually a result of gluttonous over-eating coupled with the cooler drop in temperatures that instigates this sort of behavior. And so being awake at these ungodly hours makes for mischievous behavior. Much surfing to be had. Mainly catching up on my multiple blog readings, responding to emails, working on miscellaneous work activities. But most importantly, I tend to engage in alot of my deviant online behavior (i.e. cyber-stalking) during these twilight hours. With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and various other social networking venues — it makes for an easy task. Thanks Google! You’ve made my socially unacceptable yet obviously participated activity that much easier.
I’m pretty sure you are wondering, “whom are you cyber-stalking ad nauseum?”. Well there isn’t one particular person. Mainly random people from my past. A sort of “where are they now?” type search. Here’s the thing — we all do this sort of quietly private behavior at one time or another. Which brings me to my first question. Are both men and women equal in their cyber-stalking tendencies? I have a theory that this voyeuristic practice sways strongly toward the female side. So I asked a few of my male friends and discovered that they had absolutely no interest in such information. That or they are lying. Now granted my pool of questioned males might not be a large range in order to give an unbiased perspective – but I found it extremely interesting.
So it comes down to this — nowadays everyone seems to be connected to this social networking bubble. In the early stages of voyeurism there was (and this will date me) IRC (Internet Relay Chat) which led to ICQ/AOL Instant Messaging. Then came Friendster which led to Myspace and finally to our current tool of interest, Facebook. Now practically everyone seems to have a Facebook page. And if you don’t? Its as if you don’t exist. This is true — no? The other day a friend of mine said he didn’t have a Facebook account and I caught my immediate dumbfounded look. The sort of look you give to someone when they say they don’t have a cell phone, rarely uses the internet, or finds the advent of electricity a revolution. How can this be? It’s impossible! I had imagined such people existed. But to be in close proximity to someone (under the age of 35) who would make such a statement — seemed an anomaly. I felt he needed to be studied. Like gorillas held in captivity. What leads someone to make the conscious decision to remain a social networking enigma? Incognito if you will. Then there is the other side of the spectrum — those individuals who have hundreds of people listed as their supposed friends. Its a little ridiculous if you ask me. My 12 year old cousin has over 300 “friends” on her list. I don’t think I’ve met 300 people in my lifetime! How in her little protected bubble of school, extracurricular activities, and family did she manage to meet/know over 300 people? So that led me to my second query — are females more social networkers then males?
And the mad scientist in me wondered if such an interest in sociological research was ever examined or investigated. So I did a quick search — thanks AGAIN Google! I found this — a review of studies conducted by Harvard Business School to better understand how males and females use various social networks. And they found that, “the biggest usage categories are men looking at women they don’t know, followed by men looking at women they do know. Women look at other women they know. Overall, women receive two-thirds of all page views.” Quite interesting how women are open of their social networking behaviors while men claim to refrain yet clearly are the more dominant usage group. If you are more curious about some of the studies and findings — check out this link to the professor who studies the social networking revolution.
How this became a discussion on cryber-stalking, social networking and gorillas — I don’t know. I think its time for bed.