Whatever comes to mind: Online admiration escalates

Whatever Comes To MindBy George Flynn | Opinions Editor

I’m a stalker. Not an outright criminal, but then again I guess it is up to you. When I was a junior in high school eons ago, my older friend sent me a few modelling pictures of one of his peers at college. She was blonde, glamorous and resembled Farrah Fawcett. Her style at the time was so impeccable and her smile in photographs appeared infectious. Next thing I know, it’s 2014 and I have been following her on social media for the past five years, never even metting the girl.

From following her on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and her own personal blog, I’ve been able to watch her life transpire in the same way one would keep up with a celebrity. I know who she hangs out with on weekends and who she’s dating now. I’ve seen their vacation photos.

Maybe I’m creepy. Maybe I’m obsessed. Maybe you are finding yourself in a similar predicament.

Regardless, I need to stop myself and so should anyone else with this problem.

We all see people on the Internet who are glamorous, and are attracted to them for one reason or another. Whether they have nice clothes, great hair or write witty statuses, something about them makes their lives all the more interesting than our own. We are compelled to look at their pictures and “creep,” or invest a certain amount of time on the platforms they inhabit.

Although it’s not a crime, it should be something you question. Why would anyone spend their time following someone’s virtual life as if it were a television series?

Analyze your actions. If you’re following someone’s life, is it because you think their life is more interesting when compared to the one you lead yourself? If so, then decide what they have and figure out how they got it. I’m not suggesting to change who you are, but pinpoint what you find to be admirable about the individual and then go for it. If he or she seems to have an awesome social calendar, then find a way to do the exact same. Are they successful with internships and/or travel all around the world? Try and get your own internship as equally impeccable as theirs. Apply for scholarships so you can gain enough money to travel. Do you just think they have great clothing? Find your own stellar style at any retailer.

Another way to solve the dilemma of virtually following a stranger is to actually befriend them. Chances are, if he or she follows you back or even interacts with you in social media, then a message or two seeking actual friendship isn’t too out of reach.

It might seem creepy, but you’re already doing extensive research into their personal lives. What can be creepier than that?

A final word of advice is to avoid glamorizing someone you don’t know. We glamorize celebrities every day. We have American sweethearts like Anna Kendrick, smoldering men like Ryan Gosling, and Hollywood’s hot messes such as Lindsay Lohan. Glamorizing people does two things. The first, labelling. Putting a label on someone can have a positive impact, some people might enjoy earning labels like sweetheart or beauty queen. However, some people might not exactly enjoy being titled something other than their real name. If you admire someone, keep in mind that this person might be less than impressed with receiving a label. The second outcome of glamorizing someone can potentially cause a letdown. People are never what they appear to be, whether they be more or less than expected.

It is important to realize that people, whether celebrities or the cool strangers on the Internet, are still people.

I have been following one really cool girl for five years and I have never spoken one word to her. That is weird. Don’t stalk and create images of people in your mind. Don’t look at your life and think it is a thumping bore. Embrace what you have and surround yourself with the people you do know. It is more rewarding to go out and create your own world instead of viewing someone else’s from a computer screen.

George Flynn is a senior English major and can be reached at flynng@duq.edu.

What do you think? Leave us a comment!