Secret Internet Behavior (S.I.B.) is a serious issue with our generation. There’s you and then there’s “I’m on the Internet doing really #dark things and no one can see me!” you. Is there anything more revealing than your Google searches? I’m thisclose to deleting predictive text from my computer. God forbid one of my friends uses my computer one day to Google something and they find that I’ve been Googling my ex-boyfriend. I think we can all agree that our Internet history can often be embarrassing and shameful. We use the Internet during vulnerable times and bask in its anonymity. As a result, we go to the most sinister corners of the Internet, places that could expose us for the freaks that we really are.
I suppose the comforting thing about this is that we ALL do it. We all do things on the Internet that are meant to be kept secret. In my freshman year of college, I spent an obscene amount of time Googling L.A. socialites like Cory Kennedy. I’m really glad I’m at a place in my life where I can even admit that because it is so hilarious and sad. I’ve since met some of those L.A. girls and have had to bite my tongue in regards to telling them that I used to lurk them ALL THE TIME. Imagine if you got real with the person you lurk the most. Would it go something like this?
Person Who You Lurk: Hi my name is—
Me: Samantha, I know. I’ve been lurking you since ’06.
Person Who You Lurk: Oh, thanks! What else do you know about me?
Me: I know you went to Crossroads in L.A. and are BFF with all of these L.A. socialite girls. You dated so-and-so for like two years but you recently broke up.
Person Who You Lurk: Ugh, it’s been really hard. Thanks for noticing.
Me: I think you went to rehab for awhile because you stopped updating your blog and tweeting.
Person Who You Lurk: Yeah, I was going to Hampshire but I left because of a coke problem.
Me: Are you better now?
Person Who You Lurk: Well, I’m back on the Internet, aren’t I? How bad could I be?
Me: Good point! I also noticed that you had a falling out with your BFF because the two of you have a decreased internet presence lately. What’s going on?
Person Who You Lurk: I just hate her.
Me: Okay! Well, this conversation felt really good. I’m glad I didn’t pretend to not who you were. I’ve spent hours lurking you on the Internet.
PersonWho You Lurk: Gee, thanks! Yeah, pretending that we don’t lurk each other is annoying. This isn’t 1997. We know everything about everyone, especially people we’ve never met but have lots of mutual friends in common.
Me: Right? I’m going to take a picture of you tonight and add you on Facebook and write on your wall and tweet at you. Does that sound fine?
Person Who You Lurk: Yes! I might not follow you back on Twitter but I’ll definitely accept your Facebook friend request.
Wow. Wouldn’t that be so amazing if such a conversation actually occurred? Just typing that out, I feel like I lost 10,000 pounds of Internet shame. I had a gastric bypass basically.
We all walk around feeling like we’re psycho for the things we do online. But let’s stop feeling weird, shall we? EVERYONE DOES IT. NO ONE TALKS ABOUT IT. It’s like Fight Club or having an eating disorder. Take solace in knowing that there is someone out there who lurks you AND has their ex-boyfriend from high school in their internet history. We need to remove the stigma and face the creeper music. As long as the Internet exists, we’re going to continue knowing things we technically shouldn’t. You’re not alone in this. Everyone is just as creepy as you are. Next time you meet someone who you’re already aware of from online, I dare you to be honest about it. Consider it to be like The Big Internet Lurking Challenge: Getting real about getting creepy.