Privacy and online diaries : LUSENET : like sands : One Thread

If you're an online diarist, have you ever had a reader "stalk" you or engage in any sort of obsessive behavior towards you? If you're a reader, have you ever become obsessed with someone who writes an online diary? Have you acted on your obsession?

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2000


I don't know that I've ever been obsessed...I'll read Elaine's diary at, and I'll think, Wow, this girl is so cool. I really want to be her friend! I'd love to be her friend so much, even just through e-mail! But then, you know, her journal will be so self-deprecating, and she'll say things like "today I alienated everyone around me. Fuck you!" and then I'll start to believe her. I mean, I know the persona someone puts on for their journal isn't the same as the one they wear in real life, so there's no point in being dissapointed, but still...

p.s. Jen, sucks about the wallet.

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2000

I've had two instances of scary reader behavior in three years of keeping a journal on the web. I don't think that's too bad, considering the nature of my early writings.

Scary Guy #1, who started out being a perfectly innocuous emailer, ending up figuring out my mother's name, her husband's name, and where their respective places of business are located. He then presented his findings to me in an "aren't I so cool for figuring this out" kind of way. I don't believe there was any real danger, he was just, well, obsessed.

Scary Guy #2 was someone I rejected. He took his rejection and went away, only to surface a year later, posting bizarre rants in my forum from time to time about my sexual proclivities, ex-boyfriends, and life choices. The sad thing is, his rants reveal far more about where his head is (firmly up his ass, apparently) than about my dubious character.

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2000

After emailing for about a year, when Jen was in Seattle last year, we met for pizza (and I fulfilled a life goal of getting a mention on her's pretty well been downhill for me since then). As we made arrangements, Jen very, very much surprised me by suggesting I pick her up and drive her somewhere. I could very, very easily have been an axe murderer, and Jen was ready to get in my car. (I refused...we walked separately to the pizza place.)


As for "obsessing," well, no, I don't. Don't even read any other diaries. The few I've seen tend to have a self-important streak that leads me to click away. My obsessions tend to be internally directed.

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2000

I've always wanted someone to obsess over me, but I just don't have the time to reply to the emails. Maybe a dog. Yeah, a Newfoundland! Dogs always obsess.

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2000

As a reader, I've gotten deeply involved in a lot of online diaries. I just spent a year working on a help desk where I only had a couple hours of work each day, so for 30-35 hours a week, I was mostly reading journal archives. It's hard to immerse yourself completely in someone's journal and not feel involved in that person's life; most journallers write in such a way that I feel they are speaking directly to me, rather than to the vast masses of adoring fans.

So, I kind of walk a line--I don't want to seem too stalkerish, but when somebody I've begun to care about seems to be having problems, or seems unsure of something, or looks like she wants some help or advice, it's hard to keep a certain distance.

p.s.: Thanks to the link to the 'Baxter and George--Separated at Birth?' pictures.

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2000

You know, I jus tgot finished reading the last 6 months worht of "like Sands..." I guess I missed alot in the life on a "ordinary" lab tech / grad student, which is to say 6 months worth of a normal life. Obsessed? No, but for a while I was follwoing this diary in partiocular because I knew I lived blocks away from Ms. Wade during her life in Cambridge. I liked hearing about landmarks and local things. But then it dawned on my e I was getting little else done in my lfie, so I stopped. And now that work is slow for the monet I've caught up. Funny, but I've got a liuttle space over at Diarlyland but have ha dno time to put anything in it. I don't even know the URL. I guess what I'm wondering is, do you all who write here at elnght or frequenlty have pursiots outside of work or is your job such that when you gew thome all you want to do is go online, write in the Forum and see what Jen's been up to wit' da rats? Just curious. back to formatting an entire Excel Workbook...


-- Anonymous, June 28, 2000

I'd liek to add that I don't wish to appaear a if I'm above those of us who do spend alot of time reading this diary and others and posting to this forum.

It's just that I have so little time (full time job, beautfiul 16 month odl daughter, record label as well [, if you would liek to see it], so I find myself feeling soooo guilty when I do antyhing but work, my music or tend to the baby-lady. You all are great and I love onlien diaries, pelase don't get me wrong.

Also, my typing stinks. I know.


-- Anonymous, June 28, 2000

Well, contrary to Jen's statement "I also don't really think it's the case that anyone is really "addicted" to following my life online", it seems that I regullarly read Jen's life online and look for updates everyday. Oddly enough, whenever I see Jen in vivo, I really don't associate her with the online diary. i.e. for me online diaries are interesting to read, but don't worry Jen I don't stalk people!

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2000

I'd been meaning to reply to Paul's post above for a while, but then I went on vacation and forgot about it, but then I remembered it again.

I just wanted to clarify the circumstances under which our meeting occurred. For one thing, Paul was not a stranger to me, as we had been corresponding for some time before we met.

Also, getting in a car alone with a stranger is something that most people without cars do on a regular basis--the phenomenon is known as "taking a taxi."

In addition, if Paul had decided to murder me, he probably would have been caught and apprehended within 24 hours. I was at grad. school interviews in Seattle and was sharing a hotel room with a roommate, who would have missed me immediately had I not returned on time. Since Paul's was one of three phone numbers I had when I traveled to Seattle, the list of suspects in the case would have been very short, and given my age, race and socioeconomic status, I feel confident that the police would have aggressively pursued the case.

Sure, getting into a car with a stranger involves risk, but so does just about everything in life. Our lives would be incredibly limited if we didn't take certain risks, and I think that women in particular are often encouraged to value safety over freedom, despite the fact that men are more likely than women to be the victims of violent crime.

So, while I appreciate your concern, Paul, I think that after 11 years of urban living I am able to make informed decisions about what safety tradeoffs I am willing to make in exchange for personal freedom.

-- Anonymous, July 05, 2000

I would guess men are more likely to be in dangerous places alone. I've been on the streets alone at night countless times, though I'm not likely to be in 'certain' more dangerous places. There's a limit for all of us.

I think I wrote about this once (or maybe not) I was out the same night on the same campus streets the night Ted Bundy murdered the coeds at FSU.

But the scariest thing I ever did maybe was walk by myself through a graveyard on a moonless night. (seen too many horror movies, it was very creepy, very quiet, and very dark, and shadows of gravestones when it's that dark look like almost anything -- living or dead)

-- Anonymous, July 06, 2000

I've been stalked by obsessives outside my activities on the computer. As I'm a catastrophic troubleshooter, brought in to rebuild and bulletproof networks and beef up security, usually after an extreme disaster the stalking I encounter on the job is more in the way of being a vendetta. I have a addiction to Gus' online journal, and would consider him a good acquaintence, maybe a friend, if we met! I am slightly obsessed with the Jen Wade controversy on one of Gus' forums.

-- Anonymous, October 11, 2000

Hey you all! Check out our diaries!

-- Anonymous, December 05, 2000

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