Don’t be Internet Creepy

21 Nov

Here is a weird thing that happened this morning. (By the way it is only 9:30am and I am already having a little bit of a stress attack due to The Internet. It is TOO EARLY for such nonsense.) So I woke up this morning to a bunch of alerts on my phone. This is normal. The following fit squarely into the “normal” category:

1. Really late text messages from people wondering if I am working or out, or from people wanting to send me hilarious gifs and messages because, I have come to realize, I am the person for a lot of people where when something funny or weird happens and they think to themselves “who would appreciate this?” the answer is Rebekah. Rebekah would appreciate it. So I get a lot of funny texts which makes me exceedingly happy. Especially when I read them first thing in the morning. Great way to start the day. For real. I am not being sarcastic. Please keep sending them. Please.

2. A bunch of emails but mostly they are bullshit, like investment advice and crap from The Central Park Conservancy, a mailing list that I never signed up for and have unsubscribed from about a dozen times, not that anyone is counting.

3. A notification of all the apps on my phone that need updates which I mostly ignore because most the apps came with my phone and they are stupid.

4. A New York Times rundown that I peruse because it is good to know the happs, even the very limited happs from the perspective of one news source.

Those things are all normal. Sometimes, though, things that are abnormal happen. Or at least slightly out of the ordinary. Those sorts of things are exciting. Here is a list of some of the things that happen overnight that when I wake up I’m like “woah! What could this be about?!”:

1. Comments on this blog. The thing about that though is that when I receive comments on this blog during the night they are usually either spam (recently a lot of the spam that has been getting through is from a junk account called “testosterone pills” and I can’t for the life of me figure out why this account won’t stop hounding me via nonsensical crap) or from the psycho lawyer who sends me mean messages from throw away email accounts when he’s wasted at like 3am on a Wednesday.

2. New blog followers and blog likes. That makes me feel good! It has been a slow-growth process but one of these days shit will get real. I believe it.

3. Twitter activity! I am not good at Twitter. I have been trying to get better at it by posting things more often and that seems to be working out okay for example the other day I made a new Twitter friend and I felt pretty good about it. We Tweeted back and forth for a few minutes. About Anonymous. It was invigorating.

4. Facebook friend requests. Okay, this is a mixed bag. I am not excited about this so much as slightly nervous. It’s like, when I click on the thing to see who is trying to be my “friend,” I kind of cringe and halfway look away, as if whoever it is is going to somehow jump out of the phone and do, well, I don’t know what they would do. Depends on the person I guess. If it was this one kid I went to middle school with he would tell me I had boogers on my nose. He always used to tell me that whether I had boogers or not. I blame him for my rather unladylike habit of wiping my nose on my sleeve.

5. Instagram things. I have been really liking Instagram. I follow NatGeo and that is really awesome. The other day they posted this video of a parasitic wasp larva that eats a spider and then takes over the spider’s web and it was totally awesome. Gross, but awesome. Also my friends do cool shit. And The Fat Jewish is on there and that cracks me up. That account put on a really fucked up joke about Anne Frank that I shouldn’t have laughed at but I did. Really hard. It made me feel bad about myself as both a Jew and a human being.

6. LinkedIn notifications. Did I even spell the site right? I don’t know and honestly, I don’t really care. And that is because I am less excited about these than any of the other things because, meh, professional networking site. What a snooze.

Anyway, so whenever any of these abnormal things happen I think to myself, “self, today is going to be a bizarre and interesting day.” And today is one such day. So this is what happened:

  • I woke up this morning and realized that I had a request on LinkedIn.
  • I went onto LinkedIn and looked at the profile and realized that I had no clue who this person was but that we do have some ‘interests’ in common, at least as far as LinkedIn is concerned, and we had two shared contacts who, as far as I know, don’t know one another. Okay! Seems legit!
  • I approved the LinkedIn contact because, really, what do I care. I don’t really use LinkedIn. Too stuffy. My photo is of me drinking a cup of coffee in Guatemala. Decidedly unprofessional.
  • I got a new endorsement from my new LinkedIn contact who somehow magically knows what I am good at? LinkedIn is so silly.
  • A few moments later I had a notification from Twitter that I had gotten a new follower. How fun! Then I realized that my new follower was none other than my new LinkedIn connection. What a strange coincidence!
  • More notifications from Twitter! A new retweet! And a favorite! Wow! What a day! Wait? Is that who I think it is? It is! My new Twitter follower who also happens to be my new LinkedIn connection.
  • I felt weird so I went on the GChatz and immediately chatted my friend and told her about all the events and she was like “cool? but maybe mostly creepy?” and then….

Me: oh my god and now he found me on Facebook! WHAT THE FUCK?!
CJ Rene: who is he?
Me: I DON’T KNOW! (I was stuck in caps. It happens more often than I care to admit.)

So then I looked at his LinkedIn page and I realized that people on LinkedIn can see when you look them up on there which is part of the reason I never use it and then I had a freak out. Because I don’t want him to know I am looking! But my friend told me that he is being creepy so obviously I would look at his page but he probably doesn’t think he is being creepy. Maybe this is normal for him? Like, a normal day like one of my normal days during which I do not connect with strangers on every social media platform I can think of. So then I thought maybe I would message him on Twitter and be like,

“Um, hey, I’m sure you’re nice and all but what you’re doing right now with the rapid-fire connecting on The Internet is really bugging me out.”

But you can’t message someone on Twitter unless you are following one another and I wasn’t following him so that avenue was closed to me. So I did the only reasonable thing, I rejected the friend request. I did that because, well, I don’t know this person and also because I don’t want to encourage him to then try and find me on Instagram. And then I felt really happy that I upped my Instagram security settings because, as my friend Emily said, “no one needs their Instagram being public.” So true. And then I started writing this blog.

There are a few points to this story. One of the points is that even when you are well-intentioned, which this person might very well be, going on a connection spree with someone you don’t know, especially someone of the opposite gender, can be seen as a little, um, weird? And also scary? Especially when that person happens to be sort of afraid of The Internet even though all her shit is on here and easily searchable, as was reenforced this morning by the aforementioned story. I guess I already really explained the other point which is that I am scared of The Internet. Like, actually terrified of it. And it is maybe good to be reminded every now and again that the things that are out there don’t just go into the abyss, they are findable and readable by all sorts of people, well-meaning or otherwise.

So that’s today. I am going to go for a run now and contemplate The Internet and my presence on it. And also wonder whether my new LinkedIn connection, Twitter follower and rejected Facebook friend is reading this blog. And if after reading it he unconnects and unfollows. Only time will tell. Stay tuned.

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