Lessons from an expert level social media stalker
Anyway I was looking for a photographer, and found someone and they seemed lovely – they were kind, seemed to suit our style and were even forgiving on the price. It seemed like a no brainer, we had found the photographer and were about to push the button and lock them in. However, being addicted to Googling just about anything there is to be Googled, I looked them up for any reviews. The review pages were a bit hidden but after heading towards page 6/7 on the Google search, there, on their LinkedIn profile, I found some genuine reviews. Basically to cut a long story short, here’s a nicer (verbatim) example of what I found:
“Do not use these photographers! To Sally (the photographer) your heart is black and I only wish that one day you will redeem yourself…but I know that this will never happen and I ashamed that I was born to be a part of the same human race as you. You are a cancer in this world and one day, karma will come back and will do much worse than bite you in your fat ass.”
Evidently these ‘lovely, kind, suited to our style, forgiving on price’ photographers, had a modus operandi of taking photos at your wedding then inviting you back to their studio to help ‘edit’ your album however then they proceed to hold you and your photos ransom for up to 14 hours until you pay quadruple what was initially decided. Yes, just as I was about to employ a fat ass, Rosemary’s baby to photograph a pretty important day I was saved by some good ol’ healthy stalking on LinkedIn.
Now as one who was never going to waste public resources by making a big deal about small crime, my brush with the con artist changed me. It changed me from being a naïve shopper to a strong, muscly vigilante with a deep, abnormally raspy voice, who is capable of standing up with my eyes open in a cave full of bats flying around [ok ok so when I say ‘cave’ I really just mean being able to walk through the Botanical Gardens in the evening without getting freaked out by all the bats]. My experience made me realise how important it was that I online stalk any future strangers that I meet…and to find out every bit of information about this person without having to have a conversation with them… you know to protect myself.
I went into an intense training regime of eating nothing but Nando’s peri-peri chips whilst constantly staring at my computer screen….clicking from product review site to product review site…from LinkedIn profile to LinkedIn profile…analysing, memorising, stalking all of the information on the internet so that I could one day could be the most informed buyer/seller/general person you’d interact with….ever. [Note: the peri-peri chips diet was probably not absolutely necessary to my training but man I love Nando’s peri-peri chips…why they insist on making the addition of peri-peri salt an opt in option, I will never understand].
I don’t care for Facebook/Twitter/Instagram accounts where one can construct this incredibly social and cool image for themselves – of course you’ll only check yourself in when you’re doing something vaguely interesting to show all the Facebook stalkers (otherwise known as friends) out there that you have such an active and jam-packed life when in actual fact the activity took 30 minutes but it took you 2 hours to come up with a status update that conveyed how easy-going and fun-filled your life is.
No I’m more concerned with the truth…or at least the truth represented on your LinkedIn profile or independent product review site which needs to be verified by a third party. I am discrete….I’ll lurk in the background….you will never see me leering at your LinkedIn profile. My private profile settings mean that I will just be the “anonymous” who has visited your page in the last 5 days.
Never again will I enter a conversation without knowing your exact background. I will know what school you went to, where you interned and even if you’re looking for jobs as you frantically add recruiters to your LinkedIn profile (the biggest “I’m quitting” tell ever). I will know whether that recommendation for your ‘financial modelling skills’ was really just you twisting the arm of your grad to recommend you. I’ll even do it in front of you as I’m talking to you – referencing the fact that you were previously head of a small climate change advocacy group and ask you why you’ve sold your soul to work as a management consultant helping companies emit more greenhouse gases. Never again will I be in want of information about anyone.
And as for Sally, the part-time photographer, part-time cancer, she subsequently called me back no doubt to continue her con. I let my voice mail answer, but changed the message to an assumed identity that would send chills down her spine knowing that the end was nigh… “Hello you’ve called the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, please leave a message and I’ll get back to you?”. She hung up and didn’t leave a message. Mwahahahahahahaha
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