A Stone in my Internet Shoe

I like the internet. Given the various expectations and obligations placed upon me as somebody that works full time, has a family, and endless rounds of chores to complete each day, the internet affords me an avenue of escape that would otherwise not exist. I get to have friends I would otherwise not have made, and to share stories that would otherwise not have been told.

This all sounds wonderful. And yet it is not, because of a very small minority.

The day before yesterday I “crossed the streams”, Ghostbusters style – linking my very public Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest profiles to my personal blog, and linked a recent post to a tweet. Within hours, two people visited the blog and visited hundreds of pages each. If I really wanted to, I could look at the geolocation data of the visits, and figure out with some certainty who they were. If my suspicions are correct, I also know neither of these people generally share anything of themselves on the wider internet.

Why do people do that? Why do they obsessively trawl though anything and everything others have written, but never volunteer anything themselves? Sure, some people have good reason not to expose their presence, but in this case I think we all know what they’re doing – they’re looking for ammunition – or maybe they’re just plain nosey. Who knows. I would be fine with it if they left the odd comment, but of course they don’t. They sit behind unfilled, unused user accounts at various social media destinations, and judge everything everybody else does from afar.

Maybe one day I’ll release the visitor geo-location data, and out them (don’t worry – none of these people are who you think they might be).

Anyway. While a part of me wants to bring the internet down on their head for their subversive behaviour, another part of me thinks there are far better things to do with your time. And yes, I know writing a blog could easily be described as the biggest waste of time ever invented – the irony is not lost at all.

Postscript – just to clarify a little, my annoyance isn’t with those of us that wander into a new and interesting blog, and lose ourself reading ten, twenty, or even fifty posts. My annoyance is with people that spend 24 hours reading 500 posts.

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