There is nothing that annoys me more than when people, companies, groups, etc. use the term so flippantly to either urge people to follow them on their social media sites or to market their products.
I saw this on my FB news feed today:
How is this acceptable? I know they don't mean stalking in the literal, criminal sense of the word, but still... It's like we have been desensitized to what stalking actually means.
For some reason, everyone thinks it's okay to promote stalking in this fashion. Sure, we all know what is meant... "Follow me on Facebook! Follow me on Twitter!"
Why can't we just say, "follow?"
Have we lost sight of the severity of stalking?
Basically, stalking is a repeated pattern of behavior that would place a person in fear for their safety. Most state statutes vary, but they all have similar language. In Virginia: Any person who on more than one occasion engages in conduct directed at another person with the intent to place, or when he knows or reasonably should know that the conduct places that other person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to that other person or to that other person's family or household member.
So why do we insist on making light of this crime?
It's no wonder law enforcement officials (and even victims of stalking) have such a difficult time investigating these types of crimes! I worked enough stalking cases to know that many victims aren't aware of the severity of the situation until it's too late, which makes it harder for police and prosecutors to do their job.
Since the 1980's, we have made progress: stalking is now a crime in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories, and the Federal Government, so why do I feel we have taken a step backwards?
So in this age of technology and social media, do me a favor and don't ask me to "stalk" you on Facebook.