Do You Back-Stalk?

It’s prom day on Man Repeller, which means Christmas came early by way of TBTs as we spent a good portion of the morning looking through our old high school Facebook albums and making fun of each other.

Everyone loves a good back-stalk. It’s a self-indulgent activity that’s relatively harmless, so long as you consider its very real ability to keep you up until 3 or 4 AM as benign. I sure do. Who needs sleep when you can relive the early high school years of that random girl from Comparative Lit who spoke in a South African accent even though you know for a fact she was born and raised in Buffalo? The only danger is in accidentally “liking” an old photo: nothing says, “I was looking for pics of you pre-nose job” quite like thumbs-upping one from 2006.

Even better than back-stalking others, however, and far less dangerous, is personal back-stalking. Who doesn’t take the occasional time out to click through 1,864 photos of themselves? My favorite activity as of late is to delve deep into the archives of my college freshman year and comment on old threads so that everyone involved is notified and therefore pulled into the same dark corners of the Internet. I feel it’s my duty to remind everyone of the time that James got his head stuck in the fishbowl, for example.

But we also do it so that we can imagine how others perceive us. You know, just in case someone else is out there, clicking through that vintage album called “$ENIORS.” Every year I do a full sweep to ensure that my Facebook persona is nothing less than supermodel-esque and/or appropriately hilarious should a potential dalliance send a friend request — never mind previous employers — and each time I find myself smiling from old memories, laughing out loud at forgotten jokes, remembering when life was simple, and de-tagging photos of my double chins.

Back-stalking is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Now raise your hand in the comments if you do it too.

— Amelia Diamond


  • Teresa

    Wow, how old do I feel…when did 30 something feel like 60 in Facebook years seeing my timeline only navigates back to 2008 when I was well into my 20’s. My photographic nostalgia of my high school and college days are firmly set in real, tangible photo albums.

  • bronte

    The first thing I do when checking someone’s facebook out, is backspace from their most recent tagged photo to their earliest, and start from their, not only does it guarantee laughs, but informs me as to if we were to have babies, would they be cute kids?

  • I spent all of yesterday doing this with my college friends!!! I had tears coming down my face for most of the afternoon from laughing so hard. I also love the old “wall to wall” trick and try to remember inside jokes from 7 years back (it’s so hard!!!). It’s extra hilarious to read Facebook messages I sent my unknown freshman year roommate who is now still one of my best friends. I was so overly nice/corny. It’s also funny to see everyone’s weight fluctuate. No?

  • GapToothedGirl

    I like to be secretly interested in the other’s life. It’s a peekaboo into their private.
    Love, Gap.

  • AS

    Fucking love you, Amelia! It’s like you could read my mind! Back-stalking is one of my guilty pleasures. Thank you for this. Now I know I’m not a creepy stalker or, at least, I’m not the only one. Ha!

  • haha thank you Mark Z. for Facebook;)now I can’t imagine life without it

  • Yennie Solheim

    I read this article while sitting at my desk at work and now all I can think about is how to sneak off into a secret conference room so I can back stalk

  • Catherine

    Over-analyzing my online appearance is one of the most fun (and narcissistic) procrastination technique that I use. It’s up there with 2048 and Youtube.

    • Anne

      and MANREPELLER!! 🙂

      • Catherine

        Yep, but That’s a given.

  • Jess

    Coincidently I was back-stalking earlier today, though not for myself but a friend who asked me to show her any eligible bachelors I knew (or at least on “knew” on Facebook). For some reason we found it necessary to check their ‘eligibility’ by searching through ancient photos. 5 minutes later I receive a message from one saying, “Either you’ve been fraped or you’re being a creep”…

  • Sully Ann

    I love doing this! And commenting on old pictures of something hilarious that happened. I always feel cheesy commenting “Miss this!” and “Good times!” on pictures of high school and college. Its always nice to see how everyone has evolved – hairstyles..clothes..boyfriends!

  • Saakshi Kaushik

    Stalking my own FB has become somewhat of a fun pastime for my friends and I. I did it the other night next to a dude I used to live with in my first year of Uni. Hadn’t seen him for a couple of years and it was HILARIOUS. Even better, however, is stalking (once I’ve spent 94383920483 years locating them) my myspace, Bebo and hi5. SO CRINGEY IT MAKES ME WANNA CRY. But so worth it. Did you guys stateside ever have hi5 and bebo?

    Also.. in my first year of uni i was the geek child who always had her camera with her and who would snap ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING and publicise it on fb. everything was wrong with what i wore, my face, my music taste. Though I cannot deny it, I miss twerking and reaching the floor twerking to UK “funky”/house music and sitting in the dark corners of Fabric, wondering how to escape from these “interesting” people.

  • Bahaha. The pre-nose job ones. Kills me every time. Guilty as charged.

  • Emma

    Hooray for pretentious south african accents! Hooray for carefully curated facebook pages! So glad I’m not the only back-stalker… and accent judger.

    • Amelia Diamond

      It’s such a good accent though, I totally get it.

  • elisabeth quinn

    There is one thing worse than the accidental Like: the ACCIDENTAL FRIEND REQUEST.

    • Amelia Diamond

      This makes me want to DIE

  • YES, I always “back-stalk” I feel like I wouldnt remember any college parties if I didn’t randomly back-stalk through the pictures. love the questions that go through my head “did I really hu with that guy, ew” or “I really thought that was a cool outfit” or “cant believe i was friends with someone in jail” JUST KIDDING ON THAT LAST ONE.

  • Erica

    Haha I have totally been back stalking someone (sometimes to find pre-nose job pics ) and accidentally “liked” an old pic. What an “oh shit” moment! Those poor people must think I’m a total creeper, I know I would! Oh well, everyone obviously does this! It’s fun to back-stalk occasionally, glad you have informed me of the official term!