Using Web 2.0 To Spy on Those We Dislike

Posted on April 3, 2007

Jen Gerson writes in the Toronto Star that she uses Facebook to spy on someone she disliked it High School.

I found him on Facebook.

He's chubby now, sports a cubic zirconia in one ear and a thin beard trimmed tight around the jaw. For religious views, he writes: "SMOKE WEED EVERY DAY." Favourite books: "hahahahahahahahahaha. Who has time to read?" He says he's an exotic dancer at Chip & Dales where he works "as eye candy for money."

This is the guy who tormented me in high school.

He called me a dork. He reminded me daily of how few people liked me. He accused me of being a lesbian in biology class.

His Facebook profile has become a source of constant comfort. Whenever I feel disliked or dorky, I look at his page. His lack of success in life fills me with petty glee.

Unlike others in Generation Y, I use Facebook for more nefarious purposes than just keeping track of my acquaintances or inviting people to parties or sharing photos. I am a shameless snoop. I use it to spy and I'm not afraid to admit it.

That's one way to cheer yourself up. Jen Gerson not alone in using Web 2.0 resources this way although she is braver than most people in that she admits it. Gerson also writes, "I'm less worried about this than I am about a generation that thinks nothing about putting video cameras on every street corner. I'm worried that we're making ourselves vulnerable to government and corporations who will use our indiscretion to quietly wrest our privacy from us." She is right to worry that marketing firms could datamine this information to compile detailed information about individuals and market products to them. Many of today's youth are oblivious to privacy concerns.

More from Writers Write