Kinda creepy – Twitter stalking

Most of us use Twitter as it was intended – to @reply to people who talk to us, or to @reply to someone when we see a keyword we can respond to. But you know you can follow your friend’s vacation drive from Spokane to Miami or any other fascinating updates anytime you want by looking at their single Twitter stream by itself. Like, if you want to know what Ashton Kutcher is up to, just go look at his Twitter stream. Apparently Twitter stalking is something that is done these days, just another way life in the last few years has changed things for us, even legally! Look at this Tweet from Penelope Trunk:
penelopetrunk twitter

So – you can stalk someone manually by going and looking at their stream by itself, or there is a Firefox addon called TweetStalk, which allows you to follow someone without them knowing you are doing so. You can see their Tweets but they don’t know they have a follower. I have to say, I really don’t see the value in this. I mean, why not just create a Twitter account with some oddball name and put a strange picture up there and maybe an innocent Tweet, then follow your friend all you want?  TweetStalk does allow you to create an RSS feed of your stalkee’s Tweets, but so does Twitter itself!  Just go to the person’s profile page and look at the very last thing on the right – below the thumbnails of people they are following. Grab that RSS feed and a few more, and you can make yourself one very creepy educational Google Reader!

I don’t know who would spend time doing this, but I guess it’s important to mention once again, if you are Tweeting under your real name, be aware that employers, exes, in-laws, and the world can stalk you any time they want.  :)

Photo credit: ~Sage~

39 thoughts on “Kinda creepy – Twitter stalking”

  1. One of the many reasons I wrote an article titled Twitter Safety Tips, I recently had someone tweet me in regards to who I was hanging out with on my Lanai, talk about freaky.

    I have nothing directly behind my house so it was odd.
    .-= Extreme John´s last blog ..The Copycat Company =-.

  2. One of the main reasons I cancelled (actually just stopped using) my twitter account was because I did not want people to stalk me. I did not think of it that way at first but that is the word I was looking for. I did not want people to know what I did, where I did it, what I read, who I talked to, etc.
    .-= Jason´s last blog ..I hate dreams… =-.

    1. But they won’t know more than you put there yourself, so if you put up what you’re doing right now, then YOU allow them to stalk you, right? :) If you only use Twitter to post your blog posts and comment on others, then stalking one would be close to useless.

      Yeah I don’t understand the point of that Firefox plugin either, it’s so easy just to subscribe to somebodys twitter feed using RSS, no need to follow them either, I believe?
      .-= Klaus @ TechPatio´s last blog ..Top 5 Myths About Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter =-.

      1. Klaus – yes! The RSS would be easier than bothering to follow them anyway! When I follow someone, I still don’t see most of their tweets unless I’m in some sort of 3rd party app that has my “favorite bloggers” group or something. RSS to stalk would be the most efficient. :)

    2. I have a friend who thought of Twitter as if he was just talking to his brothers and close friends, but he put on his Twitter stream that his company (and he named it) was closing down his office and all about how he was shutting down the data center. I told him offline that that is a BAD idea, since maybe even a big guy from his company is lurking (or searching for the company name).

  3. Good mention, as Twitter is exactly that. Being interested in people’s status update may not seem as stalking, but underneath it all, it means the same thing, as you are keeping track of everyone. Of course, there are different degrees of stalking, and one of them is mentioned in your entry. I think your entry is very useful, as it brings to light how real stalking can be on such social networking sites. That is key in todays world of technology.
    .-= Ana´s last blog ..Life’s Temple; Open Gateway =-.

    1. Thanks Ana! That is so true. We put a lot of information out there on social networking sites to share with our friends, but there can always be someone out there who is consuming the information in a way that may be a little too.. focused. :)

    1. True! I have seen VERY specific Tweets about where someone is going right now, in what city, and what they’ll do next. At the very least, we all know they are not home so we could go break into their house, if we wanted to fly to their city and go to all that trouble! 😉

  4. I’ve heard of an employee being sacked over something she tweeted about. I reckon it just goes to show if your going to Tweet under your real name you just have to be so careful about what you say and definitely shouldn’t be talking about anyone behind their back, because they or someone they know could be listening.

    Lucky for me I’m a Southern Gentleman 😉
    .-= Sire´s last blog ..Blog Me This You Blogging Fools =-.

    1. Sire, you are definitely a Southern Gentleman through and through – and a poet as well! Yep – all I did with my own firstnamelastname for Twitter was to grab the account and lock it up. That way no one else would get it someday and start Tweeting stupid stuff that someone might think was *me*. :)

  5. Great information revealing the dark side of Twitter. Most people who twitter should be concerned about having invisible stalkers. Then again, why do so many people reveal so much information about themselves via Twitter? I wonder (while we’re on the subject) how Twitter behavior changes along age and familial status demographics. In other word, I wonder if, generally speaking, caution is greater among older users, especially those with children/ families?
    .-= A Vecchioni´s last blog ..Empty Nester =-.

    1. For some people, I really think it’s so they’ll have more followers. I am absolutely SHOCKED at some of the TMI things I’ve seen, but that is the whole point for some. For other people, I think they truly start to think that the buddies they’re having their @replies with are the only people who are seeing what they’re saying. There very well could be a difference as we get older and have kids and are just generally more aware of being careful in this world.

    1. Yeah, I guess TweetStalk was just to be cute. :) Some Twitter stalking may be the result of the stalker having too much time on his/her hands. But others may stalk someone they really know – creepy!

    1. I can’t imagine Twitter for a personal account, unless you do the thing where you protect your updates – lock them down so only your approved followers can see. Then you could Tweet back and forth with real friends/family. Without that protection, funny things have already happened in Twitter when someone forgets to add the “D” for direct message when Tweeting by phone!

  6. I think we really need to be careful when we write something on the internet that can be accessed by almost anyone in the world. I’ve heard the story of an employee who didn’t get the job despite he already signed his contract because of what he post on his twitter account.

    I’ve also heard about this VP of a company who lost a major client of his company because also of the post he made on his twitter account.
    .-= Tyrone | Millionaire Acts´s last blog ..What is an Entrepreneur? =-.

    1. Hi Tyrone! I’ll bet this is happening more and more all the time. I’ve seen a freelance web designer complain that she was given an “ugly” design to follow, somehow made it beautiful, then was asked to make it “ugly” again. I read that with amusement, but I wondered if she was sure her clients don’t know about Twitter? 😀 Thanks so much for your comment – and please come back to MiscBytes soon!

    1. Yes, it’s crazy, but it’s good for us to all remember that people could do it anytime. Although each Tweet looks like it goes by fast and is lost forever, it’s easy to forget that someone could capture it and all your other Tweets if they really want to.

    1. Haha it really would find lots of users if they needed to have the plugin in order to see all that. I really don’t know why Twitter lets us put the microscope on someone like that, but I guess it keeps some people coming back to look at more on Twitter!

    1. Hi Frank! It really is a privacy issue. I guess Twitter could counter by saying we are free to make our Tweets private, but why should we have to do that since we want to get followers in order to promote our blogs or businesses? Thanks so much for your comment, and please come back to MiscBytes soon!

Comments are closed.