My name is Daniel, and I’m a professional stalker
Not creepy, just really good at my job
I’m not sure how many people can say they’ve stalked people on Facebook and Instagram for eight hours straight.
I suppose most people who may have done this wouldn’t freely admit to it as I’m doing now. But I’m not an ordinary social media sleuth – I’m a certified professional stalker!
Last summer I went to Washington DC to work at a foundation that specializes in the art of stalking: the counterterrorism type.
Our mission was to investigate people from around the world who were suspected of having connections to terrorist groups, the Iranian government, and various individuals and groups attempting to undermine the foundations of democracy and security.
My job was to pursue leads. I spent eight hours a day digging up as much evidence as I could find. I worked my way through entire communities searching for even the smallest hint of insidious activities. Luckily for me, very few people have any idea how much information can be gleaned from a social media profile or a brief mention in a local newspaper.
LinkedIn is not off limits
The professional networking tool that all of us know about and likely have anxieties about. None of us know how to use it because that’s real adult stuff, and it doesn’t apply to us yet. Those of us who do have a great LinkedIn tend to say things like “I have a great LinkedIn.”
LinkedIn is the professional you – the person that a college education is supposed to create. You don’t have to worry about embarrassing pictures you’ve been tagged in over the years, and you don’t have to scroll back through years of posts to delete the song lyrics and status updates that let everyone know how quirky you were.
You want your LinkedIn to be the first image an employer has of you, but what does a professional stalker get from LinkedIn? When I was in DC, LinkedIn was usually the best source of information. It gave me a person’s past employers, where they went to school, current city of residence, and most importantly any affiliation with companies or individuals I knew were illegally laundering money to terrorist groups in Lebanon or y’know something like that. I doubt you guys are involved in this sort of stuff… right?
I know what you did last summer
One of the most satisfying days at my job was when I managed to prove that five people were in the same place at the same time. This doesn’t sound like much, but it took four days and loads of stalking.
I scrolled through hundreds of posts on dozens of people’s accounts searching for dates, times, and locations that matched. In the end, a small collection of Facebook statuses and pictures provided evidence for a wider conspiracy that had been just a hunch until I proved it.
If I don’t already know what you did last summer, after a few hours I will know where you were, who you were with, and I’ll definitely know if you got a spray tan or not. No pressure.
Fear the message: “Dan Lasky tagged you in a photo”
How many of you fear a message like this? How many people have that one friend that insists on uploading dozens of potentially compromising pictures on Saturday morning? How many times have you had to scroll through pictures deleting the most obscene and unflattering pictures you’ve ever seen? Do I really look like that?
I won’t even get started on untagging the dozens, if not hundreds, of pictures from 7th grade. Y’know, the ones your “best” friends like to scroll down to just to bring them back up to the top of everyone’s feed. We DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES talk about those. When I was working as a professional stalker, tagged pictures were a goldmine. I could instantly see who was friends with who, where you like to hang out, and what kind of events you typically attended.
Now that I’m off the job, the only kind of compromising pictures I’m looking for are the ones where you sat on Photobooth for an hour, or the ones from when your artsy friend got a nice camera and chose you to be their first model. Yikes.
Just know, even if you think your security settings prevent me from seeing your profile, there is always a way in. No one is safe from a professional stalker like myself.