This article was first published on Zuqka, the pullout in Friday Nation on 6th July. I’m blogging it for those who don’t buy newspapers! It may be a little different from what was published earlier because of some editing
It’s hard to write this article without admitting that I have perfected the art of online stalking (the friendly kind of stalking, not the weird one, although the line is thin). Imagine there is someone you like, and you know their name so you want to friend(verb) them on facebook. Once you find their facebook profile, the first thing you do after sending a friend request is send them a message explaining how much you are in love with them and you want to stay by their side forever, and then you get surprised when they call you a weirdo and block you?
Online stalking (the friendly kind, I insist) is much like fishing, you don’t just see a fish there and rush to grab it, do you? It will slip through your fingers into the murky water below and you may never see it again. You need to find a line, hook and bait. Then you need to dangle the bait and be patient, let the fish bring itself to you!
Mutual friends are key. They are the line that connects you two. Some people will not accept friend requests unless they know you first or you have enough mutual friends in common. Find the friends that connect you, request them first, and interact with them. Alternatively, find something you two have in common, like a facebook group where you are both members, or join the groups they are members or pages or apps they use. You can also know their interests and make them yours too, at least for this period.
Now, the next part is getting the hook. This is the part where you put yourself in a position where your prey, er.. I mean your stalkee, can see you and notice you exist. Comment a lot in the groups you have in common, on mutual friends’ walls so you can even have a discussion, and get tagged a lot in the pictures of mutual friends. In short, be as visible as possible in her line of vision. This does not mean that you start loud arguments, rather be subtle but assertive, research on topics so you can come out on top of arguments or discussions on mutual friends’ walls.
It’s time to bring in the bait and dangle it. Find a post your stalkee has commented on and reply to their comment. Compliment them on whatever they are doing, if they have changed a profile picture, make sure you ‘like’ it. No need to comment on it, a like is enough because every other girl/boy will be rushing to say “woow! Looking good.” If you haven’t sent a friend request, you can send one now. However, it is possible to send someone a message without being friends first so no need to send a friend request.
Finally, you can then send that inbox. Make it something intelligent, but it should have nothing to do with how much you like the person or how good looking they are. Talk about their work, their interests, ask a question so that they have to respond with an answer. For example, if they play tennis, ask them when their next game is and if you can come watch it. If they are geeks, ask them if they have downloaded the latest series/movie and if they can burn you a copy. Find their interests and play to them.
If they respond to your inbox, that’s a step in the positive direction. If they don’t, please don’t flood their inboxes, just wait. It takes patience for the fish to bite the bait, so it will not be fast with responses either. Soon, you should offer to buy them a drink/coffee and if they say yes, then the hook has been swallowed! Happy stalking