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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stalk That Co-Worker on Twitter -- Then Cover Your Tracks

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Let's say I have a coworker/dude who I am sort of (okay totally) stalking. I don't really have to "stalk" because we have each other's numbers and e-mails and we text each other occasionally, if not often. But I still feel stalker-ish in my relations toward him. ANYWAY, he has a Twitter account, with like two tweets, and maybe four followers, all of whom are probably spambots. I really want to follow him on Twitter, lest he actually tweet something eventually, and I miss it on account of not following him. (See? Totally stalkerish.) BUT! I am concerned that he'll get the inevitable e-mail that I, person with a totally recognizable Twitter name (since it's the same as my e-mail address, which he HAS), and he'll be like "WTF why is she following me on Twitter? I never tweet anything," and I'll be revealed as being a total middle-school-girl-style-stalker.

I guess the advice I'm asking for is: 1) How can I convince myself NOT to follow this dude who probably won't ever tweet anything of interest anyway? 2) Is there a way to know whether he will get an e-mail notification of new followers? 3) What's a good excuse to use when he asks why I'm following him on Twitter for no apparent reason? 

Madam! Before we continue, I must kindly implore you to step away from the caps-lock key, which should be used this vivaciously only if you are making a really important YouTube comment. Let's tackle No. 2 first, because it's easiest, and I'm lazy. He will get an e-mail notification when he gets a new follower (you), assuming that he didn't change his default settings, which very few people do. So, as soon as you click the shiny, green follow button, he'll know about it. 

BUT! You should totally follow him, and you should make a big production out of it, which will ensure that he knows you know it's ridiculous. Because you're already noosed by so many social media platforms, what's the harm in adding one more? Tell him it's his early Christmas present. Tell him that Twitter suggested you follow William Shatner, but you thought he'd be more able to keep you stocked in creepy Queen cover songs instead (Warning: You can't UNSEE). Tell him that as his fifth loyal follower, you expect a daily quota of links about condescending literary pun dogs


As to concern No. 3, if he does have the gall to ask you why on Earth you would follow him, you should tell him that Twitter stalking is a constitutionally protected right. No, seriously, it is. A federal judge recently dismissed a criminal case of a man stalking a Buddhist religious leader, Alyce Zeoli, on Twitter. Not only did he stalk her, but he also blatantly harassed her, tweeting things like, "Do the world a favor and go kill yourself. P.S. Have a nice day." If THAT kind of stuff gets dismissed, I'm sure whatever middle school squee you produce won't even register on the cray-cray partay. 

P.S.: In case you missed the latest phishing scam back in August, apps that claim they can track who's viewing your Twitter profile and how often are scams just like the Facebook scams I wrote about a while ago. So stalk away, my friend. No one will be the wiser.

Social-media mistress Anna Pulley likes to give advice about how to play well with others on the internets. If you have a question about etiquette involving technology, shoot her a question at 

Follow us on Twitter: @annapulley and @ExhibitionistSF or Facebook

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