There are two types of people in this life. The first meets their future partner on social media. The second just stalks them.
My impatience with online dating apps means that I fall into the second category (yes, I admit) because searching out decade old photos of your latest crush is a great way to kill time and gives you great ammo with which to annoy them.
That it’s now almost compulsory for best friends to stalk each others exes and for teenagers to stalk their favorite pop stars, one thing is clear – social media has become the heart of 21st century relationships.
So how would you describe your stalking skills?
Do you think you could crack it as a professional?
According to Pew Research Center, 59% of people surveyed in 2016 said that online dating is a great way to meet people. And it is! You can filter profiles by age, by location and even by physical characteristics, maybe giving you the opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone stunning who caught your eye in the high street.
Some profiles can seem too good to be true, however, and sometimes they are.
A fake profile is called a catfish and is used to lure someone into a relationship or to squeeze sensitive information out of them.
In 2016, Psychology Today reported that an unbelievable one in two people exaggerate or lie on their dating profile. While most of these fibs are harmless (like pretending you’ve watched Breaking Bad because you know you’re crush has or saying you listen to Mozart because you think it makes you look intelligent), some are not.
This is where the stalking comes in as, often enough, a quick trawl through your dreamboat’s Facebook history or a scan of his friends will give you all the info you need to know if he is legit.
For people with a hectic work schedule who just want a straight forward all-clear, however, serious stalking takes up too much time and energy. They would much rather pay a professional to do the digging and give them their peace of mind.
So could that professional be you?
Although there aren’t yet many such firms about, Vet Your Date is one private investigation agency set up to filter out the good profiles from the bad and to give you extra information on a potential date.
CEO Andy Bartram from Kent told The Mirror that he established the company in an attempt to weed out catfish and stop lonely hearts from getting in too deep with impostors and scammers.
Despite saying he has never dated anyone online in his life before, Bartram said that 10 years of experience as an intelligence analyst has given him all the skills he needs to see if a person is really who they say they are.
In a world of swipe left and swipe right interactions, Bartram maintained that third party verification is vital as people can be too quick to trust the images that are flashed before them.
Asked about how much he charges, Bartram said that he is about to introduce a monthly subscription fee to Vet Your Date which launched last month, but added that if he cannot find any new information about a person, then his client will not be charged.
He currently charges £20 per search.
If you think this could be the career move you’ve always been waiting for, then here are some things to think about:
- What are your credentials? Although the hours you’ve put in to stalking the hot guy from uni might add up to some pretty big figures, those numbers aren’t really something you can put on your CV – not written like that, anyway. If you phrase it in a different way, however, and describe it as personal experience with online dating which makes you seasoned and wise, your time procrastinating will sounds more legitimate and will assure your clients that you know exactly where they’re coming from.
- Who are your clients? As with most start up businesses, beginning with your friends and family is a great way to build a client base, especially if you know specific people who use social media sites a lot. If you do a good job, they could recommend you to their friends and family and, before you know it, you could be high in demand.
- Advertising – An important part of going pro is making yourself visible to the people who will want your services. When you’ve built up a bit of a client base for yourself, develop it further by advertising on sites like Tinder and Grindr so people won’t have far to go when they realise that they could really use your help.
Any other ideas about how to make it as a pro stalker? Let us know in the comments section below!