Last week, the Gawker website launched a new Gawker Stalker feature that can immediately post celebrity sightings on the internet, complete with a map. According to the Daily News:
"We’ll be using the Google Maps program," the snarky Web site’s editor, Jessica Coen, told [Lloyd Grove of the Daily News], "and people can look at them as soon as they come in — as close to a live sighting as possible."
This stalker feature was big news in the New York internet world. Gothamist weighed in:
It’s a pretty simple concept: each day they’ll have an intern manning an email address, and as "Gawker Stalker" missives come in, the intern will plot them on a map. This way, you can stalk your favorite celebrities in real time. Why you would want to stalk Lindsay Lohan is beyond us– but that’s an entirely different story.
Some, like New York journalist Felix Salmon, thought that Nick Denton, the publisher of popular websites such as Gawker and Wonkette, had produced something quite scary.
Part of what makes cities work is the anonymity conferred by large crowds. One of the reasons why people move to New York from Smalltown is that in Smalltown, everybody knew where they were and what they were doing at all times. Here, you can walk down the streets wearing nothing but an inflatable crocodile, and no one will care. Gawker Stalker Maps is an exercise in taking those comfortingly anonymous crowds and turning them into a million-eyed intelligent beast, collating and organising information on hundreds of individuals unlucky enough to be recognisable in public.
Frankly, I’ve never understood why so many people have Gawker on their blogroll. They’re never going to link to you. All you’re doing is helping this money-making entity increase their ad sales. It’s like you’re wearing a Nike cap or Coke t-shirt, giving a company free publicity without getting anything in return.
Maybe I’m being hard on Gawker, but I am angry at their lack of concern for privacy. I’m especially bitter over their latest internet entity, Neilochka Stalker. I really don’t appreciate my friends and acquaintances (that includes you, Sophia!) sending in tips to their special email address telling the world where I am 24/7. Just look at this morning’s postings on the Neilochka Stalker site:
March 19, 2006 @ 9am Neil spotted in bed, annoyed at being woken up by the stupid birds outside, just when the dream about the two hot female bloggers washing his back in the shower was getting good. Neil scratches his balls and heads for bathroom.
March 19, 2006 @ 9:20am Neil spotted peeing in bathroom, than taking shower. He mumbles something to himself about the "dream" shower being "a hundred fucking times better" than the real shower. The next door neighbor turns on her shower. Neil is scalded with hot water.
March 19, 2006 @ 9:40am Neil is spotted wearing his new light blue boxer briefs. He spends a few minutes posing in the mirror in various muscle man positions. Neil sees female neighbor in adjacent apartment window. Neil smiles at her. Her boyfriend suddenly appears at window. Boyfriend puts up middle finger at Neil and they both laugh at Neil. Neil closes shades.
March 19, 2006 @ 10am Neil spotted in kitchen, grabbing orange juice and bagel from the refrigerator. He is seen opening his front door and picking up his Los Angeles Times from the hallway. He looks down the hall, pissed, when he discovers that someone already stole the "magazine section" and the classifieds.
March 19, 2006 @ 10:40am Neil is spotted sitting on couch, reading article in "Calendar section" about successful screenwriter/director complaining about the hardships of his tremendous success. Neil dozes off again. He dreams that he is back in the shower with two hot female bloggers.
March 19, 2006 @ 10:50am Neil is spotted on the couch getting woken up by ringing of the telephone. It is Sophia. She reminds him of some chore he is supposed to do for her parents. Neil says he will do it "right away."
March 19, 2006 @ 11:15am Neil is spotted sitting at the computer rather than doing "chore for Sophia’s parents." He is writing an amusing comment on the site of one of the hot female bloggers, hoping he will impress her with his wit.
March 19, 2006 @ 12:01pm Neil is spotted sleeping at his desk. The phone rings. Neil doesn’t answer it.
March 19, 2006 @ 1:00pm Neil is spotted watching "Escape from Planet of the Apes" on DVD while eating Cheerios from the box. This is the 124th time he’s seen this movie. Neil finds himself becoming strangely aroused by Zira, the kind-hearted chimpanzee female scientist.
March 19, 2006 @ 1:50pm Neil is spotted lying on the floor, still watching the movie. His cell phone rings over and over again. Neil answers it. It is Sophia, angry. Neil says he is on his way to her parents. His excuse: he was delayed because they were running "The LA Marathon" right in front of his apartment and he couldn’t leave just yet. Sophia apologizes for getting upset. After he hangs up, Neil laughs. He mumbles something about loving the LA Marathon! He returns to watching the movie.