I didn’t expect myself to be so afraid of YOU.
There seems to be a blurred line between love and obsession and it makes me (and plenty of other people I know) question everything I’ve known about social media.
Is it okay to stalk someone online or is it just creepy?
YOU by Caroline Kepnes was a book that sucked me in quick. It was haunting. It was creepy. I read this book a month before the Lifetime series premiered on TV. Now, the first season of the show is on Netflix and in the midst of filming season 2.
This chilling storyline takes place in New York. It follows Joe, a bookstore clerk, who becomes so obsessed with a customer, a writer named Beck. His obsession with her grows stronger the more he stalks her entire life—past and present—on social media.
When I first experienced YOU, I was shocked. The narrative was written in second person and it felt creepy and a lot more personal. It seemed like Joe was talking to me directly. I thought “you” was me. Then there were moments when he said or did certain things that were seemingly romantic and charming at first, and for some moments, I felt bad for ever judging him so harshly.
It’s truly terrifying to have any semblance of a social media presence because stalking people has become way too easy nowadays. When you meet someone new, you tend to go through their social media accounts. Instagram is for seeing what they look like and where they go. Twitter is for reading what goes on in their mind and what they’re doing. Facebook is to learn more about their family, usually.
We upload such personal content on social media as if it means nothing.
When you think about it, it’s weird. The people who follow us and our updates online are somewhat invested in our lives and that’s creepy.
You use social media, right?
You post photos of a night out with friends (with the location) on Instagram, right? You tweet about how much you love this one coffee shop on this one street near your apartment because of the cute barista with the dark hair and green eyes? You share a photo album of your recent vacation on Facebook and your mom writes such a mom-comment because she’s extra like that.
Anyone can see what you post online. Stalking is very real and very easy to do.
I mean, you are reading and seeing all of this online, aren’t you? Right.
When I finished the book and the first season of the show, I wanted to let “you” go. I felt as if I had left it all: the basement of the bookstore, Beck’s bedroom, Peach’s kitchen. At the same time, I knew it wasn’t really gone.
“You” was more than just a character — it was a very real person. Like me. Like you.