Guess who’s watching you!

Mar 24th, 2010 | By | Category: Pop thinking

A journalist from a midlands paper phoned a couple of weeks ago to ask about thoughts on the appointment to a new parish.

“How did you know?  There’s nothing on any church website yet.”

“You put it on your blog.  I have a Google Alert for the names of the local towns”.

“Ah, yes”.

There was the realization that Google Alerts mean that as well as watching others, you can be watched yourself.  The only alerts I have are for the blog and my own names, but any number would be possible.  Journalists can set alerts for particular names and places of interest and get a daily update on what is going on.

The alerts are fine, but if a more proactive approach is desired, then searches throw up all sorts of unimagined information.  Sometimes people have been careless in posting their details, or in not controlling their social networking settings, or in not watching what others are doing with their information, but in very short time it is often possible to build up a picture of someone without them ever knowing.

There was a Stylistics song back in 1973, Peek- a-boo, a very gentle song about a young man’s devotion to his beloved:

Every single day
As you pass this way
I know just what to say
But I can’t find
The words to tell you
Each and every day
My love grows and grows
More than before
So maybe, I’ll just say

Oh, Oh! Peek-A-Boo!
Guess who’s watching you
Oh, Oh! Peek-A-Boo!
Guess who’s loving you
Oh, Oh! Peek-A-Boo!
Guess who’s watching you

Can’t you realize
As you pass me by
the love that’s in my heart
So what’s keeping us apart
Even though I know will win your heart
I’ll wait just one more day
Just to see you

I’ll wait just
One more day
Just to see you’.

How many of us have tried to engineer chance meetings with those we have found attractive? How many times have we waited in certain places at certain times in the hope that they might pass by? How many times have we pretended that it was sheer coincidence that we were somewhere when the other person happened to come along?

Had there been, in 1973, the technology we now have, how might the lyrics have changed?

But if a text message saying ‘Peek-a-boo’ was sent to someone whose mobile number was publicly available on the Internet, how might they respond? It would be unlikely to be the response hoped for  in the song!

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  1. Very interesting. I have never heard of google alert, but will check it out. Thanks.

  2. Ah, Linda, it is you. I thought so. There is a programme called Woopra that tracks visitors to a site and it is running on the blog. Woopra gives a rough geographical location of visitors and when someone from your town arrived a couple of times on the blog through a link on Facebook, the list of candidates was not very long!

    Incidentally, Firefox is meant to be a safer browser than Internet Explorer 8 that you are using – now isn’t that scary?!

  3. The lyrics sound very odd to me… was it The Stylistics who sang the one about having a million dollars? That was equally bizarre.

  4. The million dollars one is the one where he talks about all the things he would buy her with lesser amounts and then says if he had a million dollars he wouldn’t need her? A fair reflection of human nature?

  5. I’m often amazed and surprised to find out how people find the blog. Usually through other means but sometimes just a random search. Then there are the lurkers and I have no idea who they are! Then I keep my contact information very private on both the blog and facebook . . just the gmail account. And yes, I used to walk a specific way home in about year 11 in the hope of bumping into a boy I was rather keen on. Worked once or twice until he began dating my best friend!

  6. Baino,

    Did you always yearn after unobtainable men? 😉

  7. You don’t find diamonds in the rough by waiting for them to come to you. Hey I found the original blog just by clicking “Next Blog” on Blogger.

    Was I a bit of a secret stalker at 16? Yes, more times than I care to admit. Then I caught a good one and have kept him for 20 years 🙂

  8. Is a young woman stalking a man more acceptable than vice versa? I would think so, but is that being sexist?

  9. How about The Police ‘ Don’t stand so close to me’, great song but definately weird.

  10. I always found that song disturbing!

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