Instead of “creeping,” I prefer the phrase “using your resources.”
By Gabriela Hernandez, Kansas State University
In the same way that people use search engines to find information, you should be using social media to find information about people.
But much like oils and pastels, stalking is an art. Mastering the craft of surreptitiously gathering information about strangers is difficult, and the social taboo’s not making it any easier, but love is just so much simpler when you know what you’re dealing with.
While some people think that stalking removes the element of surprise and makes romance less interesting, the opposite is true. Knowing your boyfriend’s favorite candy ahead of time can actually score you some major brownie points with him.
With internet stalking as a tool in your relationship tool belt, every stage of your love life can be handled more effectively, saving the two of you time and energy. Gathered below is a complete guide to who and how you should internet stalk.
1. Handsome Stranger
You met at the bar that night you had one-too-many tequila sunrises. You remember thinking that he will be the father of your kids, the Kanye to your Kim, but unfortunately you don’t remember what his major is and the only name that rings a bell is Sims.
You definitely want to see him again since you’re soul mates, but you’re too impatient to wait around for the universe. This is when you turn to your good ol’ friend Facebook, the solution to all your problems.
Even if you can’t see much of your future husband’s information, Facebook still allows you to put a face to a name and double-check that beer goggles didn’t distort your memory. To be chill, don’t add him just yet—first check his About section to make sure he’s single.
2. Potential Crush
This guy could be the real deal.
You sit next to each other in LAR 500 and you sometimes complain about how annoying your professor is, but you’re too much of a wuss to ask him about his favorite sport or if his girlfriend likes soccer too (again, first step is making sure he’s single).
You don’t know his last name or what his class schedule looks like, so the best thing to do is log on to your school’s directory and type in his first name. Hopefully, he has a distinguished name like Pierre or Remy and not John.
Find his full name, local address and major. Once you have his mailing address, go to Google Maps and look up directions from your place to his. If he lives more than a mile away from you, the relationship is doomed and you shouldn’t waste your time.
3. Your Boyfriend
Maybe you’re a little crazy and don’t believe that he’s just friends with Nicole, or maybe you just want to make sure that he’s not trolling around double tapping on randos’ pictures. Either way, it’s important to check out your boyfriend’s Instagram.
You can see who he is following and whose pictures he likes, and if he’s hearting more selfies than cars then you might have a problem. Make sure to check his followers and, if you get the chance, his search history.
For knowing what he’s doing on the daily, Facebook is the appropriate tool. Thanks to the social media gods, now it’s easy to see “Pictures liked by Alex” and “Places visited by Alex,” so confirming that he’s at the store buying you Ben and Jerry’s has never been simpler.
4. Your Boyfriend’s Ex
Is she prettier than you? Does she fill out a bracket every year? Is she smarter than you? I can’t tell you, but the internet can.
While Instagram is fine for knowing her favorite foods, the only way to get the good, the bad and the ugly is to look up her Facebook and Twitter and scroll back to the beginning of time—or whenever she first joined.
Facebook will let you see how miserable she and your boyfriend looked together and how she obviously had split ends in high school.
If you’re lucky, a few tagged photos might even feature an unseemly double chin or smile that’s not even that glowing.
While bereft of embarrassing pictures, Twitter is the ideal resource for seeing their personality compatibility. If he retweeted all of her posts that’s a red flag, but if most of her statuses went unliked than he definitely likes you more than he ever cared about her.
5. Your Ex-Boyfriend
He obviously broke up with you because he doesn’t deserve you and didn’t realize how amazing you are on the inside, but you still want to know what he’s doing.
If you ever miss him, go ahead and check who he’s Snapchatting. While you can’t see who his top friends are, you can still see how many snaps he sends and receives.
And thanks to Twitter, you can tell if he’s retweeting depressing quotes or if constantly flirting with @commonwhitegirl. Since you need to move on before he does, make sure to post positive quotes and funny videos so he can see that you are clearly #overit.
6. Your Ex-Boyfriend’s New Girlfriend
If he didn’t think you were good enough, she has to be the shit right? Maybe she looks exactly like you or maybe she’s a tall blonde with magical purple eyes. Either way, you need to find out.
If he changed his relationship status on Facebook, he did most of the legwork for you. All you have to do now is Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter stalk her.
Even though it literally doesn’t matter, you’re going to want to know about her life, hobbies, hopes and dreams. All is fair in love and war so stalk your heart out, just make sure you don’t accidentally follow her or you’ll look like a creepy psycho—which you are obviously not.