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It’s interesting how many men do not know how to online stalk someone (properly).

Yesterday I received a message on Facebook from a random guy asking me out on a date (so apparently that’s still a thing that’s alive and well).

Interesting fact about me; I’m married.

Although I don’t have my relationship status on clear display in Facebook language, a quick scroll through my “Cover Photos” reveals me in a white gown kissing a man in a tux.

It shouldn’t take Colombo on the case to discern that’s a wedding photo.

With Facebook’s current settings, I can’t make those cover photos private; so anyone can see them.

Creeper McSnoopsalot clearly jumped the gun after seeing only my profile photo and does not know how to online stalk someone.

In a world being overrun by social media, it is easy to develop a crush on a stranger.

That avatar can make you swoon over a woman but her account can tell you a whole lot more.

Does she have a boyfriend?

Does she have a girlfriend?

Is she a vegetarian?

For some of you, a “yes” answer to any of the above is a deal breaker.

What’s my point?

My point is, there is plenty you can learn about someone before your little head tells your big head to blindly send a message to your hottie with a body or dime with a mind (feel free to use that phrase as your own).

For instance, a little note that says, “Hey, I’m also a Detroit Lions fan…us endangered species have to stick together!” would go a lot further than, “Hey cutie 😉”.

Side note: as a general rule I’m turned off by any usage of winky-faces, but that might just be a personal preference.

Starting a dialogue, especially a funny one, is the best way to elicit an actual response.

In order to really hook her, you have to sound like you’ve paid attention to her. You know how women are really impressed when you regurgitate something back to them to show that you’ve listened? The same goes for our online “conversations”.

In other words, take something (not everything) you saw about her that was interesting so you can plant your seed. If you’re lucky, that pun was just intended.

How to Online Stalk Someone (Properly)

Here are some tips on how to online stalk someone the right way – on various social media platforms:

TWITTER

This is the most cryptic and perhaps least indicative of who a person actually is; yet there are hidden nuggets of gold around every corner.

By seeing which people she is following, you can see her tastes in TV shows & movies, comedy, sports, music, politics and so on.

Be careful of making too quick of an assumption, though, because you have to look at the big picture.

Some people like to follow public figures they actually can’t stand in order to see what zany things they Tweet and/or to mock them.

Check out her own Tweets to see her sense of humor, her hot buttons and most importantly if she is an over user of exclamation points.

INSTAGRAM

If you are mainly interested in looks, jackpot. Stalk away.

Even the most modest gals out there can’t resist a selfie.

Perhaps an account full of selfies is exactly what Daddy like! Or perhaps (if you’re smart) it’ll send you running.

Most of the time, though, you also get a glimpse into what kind of activities she’s into, what sort of food she likes (will this trend please end?) and what kind of things make her chuckle enough to snap/filter/post.

If you’re an Instasnob, you’ll be able to judge if she’s actually using the video feature properly.

FACEBOOK

Odds are if you are viewing a girl’s Facebook profile that you are either already a friend (but hopefully not in the “friend zone”) or you are a friend of a friend.

If she hasn’t set up privacy settings to keep creepers like you out, this can be one of the most telling sites. This is where people tend to “keep it real” the most because their parents, coworkers, neighbors, etc., are on there too.

If she has put up a cyber fence to keep intruders like you out, try to contact that mutual friend.

First, ask if she’s single then ask if you two would have anything in common or if she would be freaked out if you added her as a friend. If you don’t have any friends in common and you just found her profile somehow, I think you should go back to using Myspace.

While I am in no means advocating using social media* as a dating vehicle, the reality is it sometimes happens (*I do not consider things like OkCupid, Snapchat or Tinder as social media since “dating” is their main purpose).

In a time where our social circles seem to be infinitely expanding yet simultaneously shrinking, the mindless bar chatter has been replaced with the meaningful @ replies and knowing how to online stalk someone properly may be of some use to you.

Lauren O’Brien is a stand-up comedian, writer and former morning radio show co-host living in California since her escape from New Jersey. Lauren’s style has been described as “impeccably witty and ferociously funny” but she was the one doing the describing (to herself). See more self-praise on Twitter @thelaurenobrien and Laurenobrien.net.

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