Watching me, watching you

 

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Collage of Digital (Social) Networks (https://flic.kr/p/dTZAW6) by Tanja Cappell (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Social media surveillance appears to be a popular topic for discussion amongst the blogosphere and even more so in relation to this unit. When we first talk about surveillance via social networking sites (SNS), we think about the way we are being watched by corporations, by the sites themselves and even sometimes by the government. Whilst these are very interesting subjects to discuss, I would like to step away from the norm for once and have a think outside the box.

Have we ever thought about the way we surveil one another? And where do we draw the line when it comes to ‘stalking’?

When I say the term, ‘Facebook stalking‘ I feel that I wouldn’t need to elaborate very much at all. It has become an almost normalised term, one that is tossed into our day-to-day discussions amongst our peers.

Stalking via social media is evident on multiple platforms and extends further than just Facebook. Let’s be frank, we’ve all done it at some point. However, when you realise you’ve (accidentally) liked someone’s Instagram photo from 47 weeks ago or now know the names of your crush’s cousin, sister, and aunt that you may have gone a tad too far.

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Eagle Owl (https://flic.kr/p/oXZbzU) by Tom Godber (CC BY-SA 2.0)

(Harmless stalking via Facebook? Some light comedy for your engagement)

One of the most common examples involving stalking via social media often involves relationships. Whether it’s a crush, your current partner or an ex, it seems to occur frequently, and sometimes too often. So why do we do it?

In an article published by Krystal D’Costa on blog site Scientific American, stalking via SNS is described as a type of ‘digital voyeurism’. She goes on to discuss the notion of attachment theory, a term coined Psychologist John Bowlby that analyses the way in which infants form different types of attachments, and how this can further be related to how adults act in their own relationships. D’Costa (2015) writes:

Facebook stalking and other forms of online surveillance made possible through social networks may be part of a new reality. The long term impact of this behavior on our relationships overall may ultimately come back to drive the nature of those early relationships we develop with our caregivers to create a new established model for overall attachment.

So does this mean that our digital stalking tendencies stem from the attachment we first form as babies? It certainly is a very interesting thesis.

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Stalkers (https://flic.kr/p/7VGkRG) by daniellehelm (CC BY 2.0)

Marwick (2012) further examines the practice of Facebook stalking, suggesting that it has to do with power relations. By gathering information about others, the stalker may feel as though they are “leveling up” through creating assemblages of information about the other person (2012, p. 387). Stalkers are often seen to be compensating for feelings of weakness in these situations and they feel that the more they know about their subject, the more dominance they have obtained.

While it appears harmless at first, cyber-stalking itself is becoming a great problem in our technological expanding world. It can go much darker than just searching for that cute girl/guy on Instagram and is posing a real worry for social media users.

The Domestic Violence Research Centre for Victoria (DVRCV) reveals that cyber-stalking anyone, including current or ex-partners, is illegal in the state of Victoria. Cyber-harassment, which similarly deals with the surveillance of another’s online identity is also against the law. Examples of cyber-harassment include:

  • Checking your emails without permission
  • Hacking into your online accounts and impersonating you
  • Spreading rumours about you
  • Sharing photos/videos without your consent
  • Constantly messaging, emailing or texting you in a way that makes you feel intimidated or scared or
  • Harassing you on social networking sites as Facebook, Twitter etc.

(DVRCV, 2013)

Though some cases of social media surveillance are more sinister than others, it can not go unnoticed that we surveil each other via SNS on a daily basis.

Thanks for reading and feel free to check out my podcast that runs alongside this piece.

– C

References

D’Costa, K 2015, ‘Using Attachment Theory to Understand Facebook Stalking’,  Anthropology in Practice, weblog post, 15 December 2015, retrieved 10 August 2016, <http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/anthropology-in-practice/using-attachment-theory-to-understand-facebook-stalking/> 

Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria 2013, Cyber stalking & harassment, Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, retrieved 10 August 2016,<http://www.dvrcv.org.au/help-advice/cyber-stalking-and-harassment> 

Marwick, AE 2012, ‘The public domain: Social surveillance in everyday life’, Surveillance & Society, 9(4), 378-393, retrieved 10 August 2016,  http://ezproxy.deakin.edu.au/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1314689547?accountid=10445

 

 

 

 

 

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44 thoughts on “Watching me, watching you

  1. Great post Caitlyn!

    Everything about your blog drew me in straight away – from the images you used to the opening sentence.
    I loved how you went ‘outside the box’ by discussing something so relatable (Facebook stalking) to discussing a much more problematic issue (cyber-stalking).
    The information you provided around why we enjoy gathering information about others is really interesting. I like how you mentioned that the stalker may feel that they are ‘levelling up’ – reminds me of how we discussed gamification in this unit.
    Your use of embedded tweets, videos and links were also engaging and made the post very enjoyable. I definitely had a great laugh watching the music video. Also, well done with your referencing.

    Thanks – Natalie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great article, and love your use of humour in terms of the video!

    As much as there is the dystopian side of SNS and voyeurism stalking that people do, it brings light to many issues which may have remained under the surface.

    I think that through the pains that others have gone through, the increased surveillance because of it and laws which have passed to protect victims and provides an outlet of support which is key for fighting cyber bullying and issues with cyber-stalking in the future.

    Very intriguing, and keep up the great work 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Caitlyn,

    Love that we have the same name btw!
    I love your incorporation of the twitter post, the video as well as backed up evidence to support your argument!

    You have all the elements that make up a fascinating blog! And I couldn’t stop reading it!

    Maybe next time you could incorporate a video, or podcast of yourself stating what your view is… or embed a survey that incorporates opinions?

    That could add to your already extremely terrific blog! Plus the podcast will help as it’s apart of the assessment!

    Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Caitlin,
      Lovely name indeed!
      Thanks for your lovely comment.
      I was thinking of going back and doing a podcast for this topic when I get more time (like most others, I’ve been swamped with assignments). But I’ll definitely be doing it very shortly 🙂

      Like

  4. Hi Caitlin

    Your style of writing was fresh, relaxed and truthful, I agree ‘Online Stalking’ is now a normalized term, which society is now not afraid to admit they all do! Whilst many ‘stalk’ Facebook for harmless purposes you’ve bought to light other factors which need to be considered while doing ‘harmless stalking’ such areas you’ve highlighted like cyber-harassment, another area which needs to be considered and could develop your point further is bullying within our under generation, mainly focusing on school aged children. Bullying isn’t left in the schoolyard anymore, but the bullies are able to come into our homes via media devices.
    It could have been interesting to add a twitter poll to this blog and see the numbers of people who believe they have been victim to Cyber harassment in the past?

    Overall I enjoyed reading your blog, it was informative and engaging and best of all it has started to make my brain tick on the topic.

    Brittany ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Caitlyn, great job with your constant blogging and tweeting! This new post is a very great topic to draw on, as social media stalking is something that everyone does without even realising. Just to add, I think that though we stalk the posts from these people, we have the right as that person has allowed it my accepting you as a follower. Just some thoughts: p But great analysis with your writing, always backing up your research with academic sources.

    A few things though, it’s best to hyperlink a video into a sentence rather than embedding, as the video is not personally made or from Creative Commons. And also no need to explain where your tweet is from as it is embedded, so it’s a reference within its self. Great choice of primary sources, especially the cyberstalking article from The Guardian, that was an interesting read. Though, maybe introduce who wrote it, where it was from and hyperlink the source so readers can understand that’s where it comes from (eg. McVeigh (2011) says in The Guardian that…). Because its more informative when you acknowledge the source and then provide its hyperlink or specific quote.

    Keep up the great work, you’re doing fantastic!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Caitlyn,

    Wow! What a blog post! A thorough and well-planned piece of writing. Great Job!
    I was really engaged by the imagery, video, and hyperlink to the definition of ‘Facebook Stalking’. I didn’t watch the full video but saw that it was very relatable to uni students. I know the feelings of all my friends either buying a house or going on holiday, where here I am studying with minimal money. (Yay, uni student life)

    Just some suggestions:
    • In the first instance of using the term SNS, you are better to write it as Social Networking Sites (SNS), so your audience is able to engage thoroughly.
    • Don’t forget the year after the author for an in-text citation. ie) D’Costa (Year) writes…
    • Defining the term or linking to the definition voyeurism would be beneficial, as not everyone may know what voyeurism is.
    Keep up the great work.

    Reid 🙂

    P.S – On a side note, you use the term “levelling up” in the post, maybe you could write a post on gamification and hyperlink to the blog post.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello Caitlyn,

    Really enjoyed reading your blog post, it was very refreshing. As you mentioned it is mainly thought of that large corporations and employers are the ones using social media to surveil. It was interesting to be reminded that this isn’t the case.
    I really enjoyed the fact that you used an academic source to elaborate on just why we Facebook stalk.
    It’s also great that you explained why social media ‘stalking’ is indeed a worry.
    Really hard to find a fault in your work, Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a great article. It was really interesting and definitely refreshing to read something that holds up a mirror to our new social behaviours.
    You managed to incorporate so many different blogging techniques – embedded tweet, bullet points, YouTube embedded video, quoted text and a title photo. The title was also very eye catching. Reid said it above as well, the first time you use an acronym like SNS it is always nice to write what is short for. The next stage is now to look at incorporating some twitter polls and podcasts in lieu of the upcoming assignment *gulp*

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Caitlyn,

    Firstly I would like to say I love your title! It’s impressive and makes me feel interested in your following content. You give us a professionally executed blog post. The image and twitter post you incorporated in your post helps me to follow your idea. These elements together make a great work. The idea about online stalking you discussed in the post provides good insight. That’s why I do not usually share my life on social media. These harmless stalking sometimes arouse gossips. And bullying becomes serious problem in this digital age.
    Overall, very nice work! Thanks for your effort.

    Annabel

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Caitlyn,

    Indeed, surveillance is one of the many things that relates to the human desire to always wanting know about something. Your first paragraph made me think about why did we desire such a thing in the first place? Is it because we are afraid? Afraid about things we do not know. The article is totally a reflection about things that we often do unconsciously. You have also pointed out the argument that as much as we hate being observed/monitored, we love to take a look or glimpse at the life of others. This argument is clearly written and conveyed along the articles. Your relevant contents and quotes have also created a balance for a colourful, yet serious writing.

    Overall, this is a neat piece of writing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello Caitlyn,

    First of all, I really love the spin you put on this particular aspect of digital surveillance – many of us don’t realise that we’ve gotten too deep when we’re going through peoples’ Instagram and Facebook feeds. The concept that we’re watching each other and being watched by other people as much as we are by corporations is something that I hadn’t really considered before, as it’s become very normalised. I really enjoyed your embedded media, particularly the Facebook Stalker Song!

    Everything was hyperlinked and referenced perfectly, and all your material was relevant to your chosen topic. Good job! I’ve been enjoying reading your blog posts!

    Ayla

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Caitlyn, great post!

    I always appreciate an idea that’s a bit out of the box and the idea that we also surveil each other is definitely something that doesn’t get talked about a whole lot, even though these actions can essentially facilitate stalking for some people.

    I particularly liked how attractive your page is. Especially the use of fonts and images with colourful images (even though i’m a bit colour blind). I thought your style of writing was formal enough while also applying some common sense regarding the safe assumptions made. For instance, knowing that a large elaboration of what facebook stalking is probably not needed and self explanatory for most people. Also good work with the embedded tweet and bloc quote, both were used effectively.

    Cheers. Kilian.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a great post Caitlyn! Social media stalking is definitely a surveillance activity that we do daily without even realizing it. Personally, I see this as a positive thing that deepens the feeling of connection with friends and family. It is good that you have used scholarly sources and explored the power relations behind cyber-stalking, something that I didn’t know before! The YouTube clip you embedded have made your post even more entertaining. Also, I really like how you used bullet points when listing the examples of cyber-harassment, it is really easy for the readers to read! For your reference list, the first two are correct, but there is a minor mistake in the last one, it should be Marwick, AE 2012 instead of Marwick, A. E. (2012).

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Caitlyn,

    I couldn’t help but come back and read more of your blog posts as you always have an ability to make us aware of a greater consequence lurking in the shadows, in this case (cyber-stalking)!

    I think you have provided a huge elaboration on the term “Facebook-stalking” and that you could have provided more discussion on the subject by maybe including some embedded twitter polls, as you seem to have quite a following in the #ALC205 hash tag! Perhaps a podcast created by yourself may have been the better option, as I feel whilst the video provides some light entertainment I would have liked to maybe hear a personal experience of yours!

    Other than that, your post is of great quality. Cheers, Lena.

    Like

  15. Wow Caitlyn, amazing that you have been so engaged in this unit, blogging constantly, great effort!
    This post is my favourite of yours and this is why I have chosen to review it. Social media stalking is a very interesting area and its weird to think just how easy and common it is.
    I love the media content integrated in the post as it really helps to keep the reader engaged and wanting to explore further content. The video in particular was great as it was hilarious and probably relatable for some students as were studying hard and see our own friends working 5 days a week making money.
    The use of your personal tweets were great and link the reader to your twitter where they could find more content.
    Referencing was dell well and the links open in new tabs!
    Overall a great post.
    Kurtis.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Caitlyn,

    What a great blog! You make it easier for me to understand your blog and the flow is so smooth.

    To be honest, I would consider myself a “stalker”. I have always been curious about how people build their identity, it is actually one of the main reason that makes me want to stalk people. I think everything people post on their SNSs has a special meaning to them, how they want others to look at them, how they want themselves stand out… and this may sound crazy but I would love to find out how they want themselves to be considered as.

    Eventually, great post and strongly recommended for an awesome example.
    Can’t wait to read more,
    Casey.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Caitlyn,
    This is a prefect blog post and l cannot stop reading it. You did such wonderful job! I love how you using hyperlink to bring out an idea, which can make reader doing further reading, and you using bigger size to highlight your reference from the article, it’s easy to understand. You made me think about how I acting online, or we all are, being a watcher and looking other people’s life. Love your creative commons and twitter, it’s so smooth to look with your context. Well done, really enjoy your work!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Caitlyn,
    Your blog post is definitely the best I’ve read so far. It is filed with relevant scholarly sources, multi-media, embedded tweets. Not to mention the overall content you’ve produced. You took an issue that honestly everyone is a little guilty of and produced a critical explanation as to why we do it. Your blog was broken up into to relevant paragraphs and references which made it easy to read and understand.
    I really enjoyed your blog, I found it entertaining, educational and relatable, and I look forward to reading more of your work.
    Good luck,
    Zoe.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Caitlyn,
    This is a remarkable blog post, you should be very proud of this. Your discussions about surveillance and social media are relatable, enticing and very thought provoking. I think the point of view you have taken with this blog post is very unique and will encourage your audience to really examine how they have taken part of surveillance. What really resonated with me was how you started the blog post discussing some examples of how we take part of social stalking, and then slowly moved on to point out the seriousness and dangers of the situation. I think it’s very important to discuss the repercussions of something we all do on a regular basis, repercussions most of us have never thought about.
    I could not find one thing to fault, I really enjoyed this post. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hey Caitlyn great job. Your blog really drew me in this the catchy title and the use of images. You explored the issue of Facebook stalking in a really interesting way that was knowledgable and personal at the same time. The structure was great as you were able to break up the texts into smaller paragraphs so it didn’t get boring for the readers and the inclusion of the podcast was great. I would suggest however using a shorter quote, having a 57 word quote within a writing piece is to long and paraphrasing would be a better option. This also took away from your writing skills as it disrupted the tone of the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thanks for sharing Caitlyn, very interesting topic here as we all were thinking ‘OH god this is me’. Definitely a topic that is swept under the rug as we all do SNS stalk, you raised a really interesting point when you used Marwick’s’ suggestion that this behaviour has to do with power also a great use of research here. You demonstrate really good research throughout the blog and kept it really exciting to keep reading. Very beneficial blog to read, would have loved some sort of survey in there to demonstrate how other people feel about the topic. Overall great blog, thanks for sharing!

    Cassie Papa

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hi Caitlyn,

    You have a great blog post here. Diversity of content, a nice big bolded quote in the middle and some eye-catching images. Congratulations on the best looking blog post I have seen so far.

    I’d say my main criticism is the podcast. Some of what is there seems simply a repeat of what you already wrote. Perhaps you could have added what the larger implication of a stalking culture is in our world. What this means for us? What this says about us? I read the quote ‘new reality’ and I was actually hoping for a further discussion, whether in the podcast or a video, or in the text.

    Overall, good piece of work.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Hello Caitlyn,
    You’ve written your article in a less formal tone, which made this article a breeze to read. I like that you’ve chosen to focus on ‘digital voyeurism’ and how SNS users wield it as a tool to monitor others. You’ve opened the article by accurately highlighting that in modern society, digital voyeurism has become normalised. I like that you’ve researched the basis for digital stalking, and the psychology behind it. You further elaborated your argument by linking it to cyber-stalking/harassment, an important discussion and prevalent issue. I also like your dot-point list of what constitutes as cyber-harassment – when you lay it out like that it shows how much we see those kind of behaviours every single day on the internet.

    Liked by 1 person

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