I've been online blogging and using social networking for seven years. I obviously still use a pseudonym and take certain precautions about anonymity but I don't kid myself--if some one wanted to figure out who I am and where I am they can. In fact, many of my regular readers know.
I don't worry too much about it because well, I can't. I am reasonably cautious and I accept that living online carries risk. Living in the physical world carries risk too. That being said apps like foursquare and the like make no sense to me. I have no desire to report my whereabouts to everyone at every moment. I don't even really like that my phone has GPS.
For the past few months I couldn't quite put a finger on why my friends' foursquare updates pinged something in my stomach, I couldn't place why they upset me even though there is nothing to be upset about.
I was stalked in 1999. I met a man at a seminar. A friend and I worked with him on a project--we went to his house and he showed me his paintings. I mainly remember that part because I have always been into artists. He had this great dog. And I didn't see him again. He never even told me his last name.
Except I noticed this car behind me a lot--a model/color just special enough that it seemed odd it turned up everywhere I went. One day I recognized him. The next day he started screaming at me on the street--calling me names. He parked outside my apartment and honked the horn and flashed his headlights at my windows for hours.
I called the police. They didn't seem to know what to do with me, kept wanting me to say we had dated, wanted it to be something that I had done. I finally got dumped with an officer who specialized in domestic disputes even though everyone knew it wasn't really that sort of situation. I liked the officer and she was the first one that looked me in the eye. But she couldn't do anything. Until he attacked me no one would do a thing about the harassment.
One night I was studying in my apartment with some classmates. He followed another resident into my "secure" building and knocked on my door. I answered and he pulled me into the hallway. He tried to pull me down the stairs. I fought back and a classmate came into the holiday and so did the super. Just enough to pull him off of me.
I don't know what his intention was that night, was he going to hit me, try to kidnap me? But it turned out to be lucky for me in a way because he had an arrest warrant for assault and had skipped bail. That the police could and would do something about. That made the officers take me a little more seriously.
I won't ever know what made that guy follow me. I don't think it had much to do with me at all. I don't think he was obsessed with me. I just think he was trying to control something, some one. I was just unlucky. But I know this sort of thing happens every day. I imagine the police have gotten more savvy about what stalking is and hopefully they don't shunt women off with warnings about dating strange men and maybe you just need to only drive with some one else in the car. I hope the officers don't stare at the women's boobs while they are clearly trying to size up why the guy would want this girl anyway.
I think about that guy all of the time. I walk down the street now without a worry about who might follow me. I am a suburban mommy, no one follows me or notices me much at all. But my eyes still watch my rearview mirror closely, I still look people in the eye and watch my surroundings on the street. And I would never ever use foursquare.