[This is a public service announcement.]
It’s crazy. I can’t even believe that we’re having this conversation. I’m shopping for a new camera because my current camera is over two years old. There are a lot of new cameras to choose from with more megapickles, more ISOs, and more retros. But I’m not the impulsive type–I like to do my homework. Like a lot of other photographers, I go online, check out the major camera websites, ask fellow photographers in camera forums, pixel peep some 100% crops, read some reviews, and go to some of the online retailers to check prices and availability. If there’s a brick and mortar nearby, I might stop in and fondle the merchandise a bit; I like giving them business because they’ve helped me out in a pinch before.
So one night I spent a couple of hours visiting a dozen website, reading review after review. I wanted to see what the retail price of a particular camera was, so I went to several major retailers and checked out some of the kits and what it would cost to get the camera with the kit zoom and a couple of primes. I went to bed happy that I had narrowed down the field of potential new cameras.
The next morning, I get up early, make some coffee and log in to catch some news and check email before getting my day started. Before you know it, one of the cameras from last night is following me. I go to check the news…there it is, in the corner with a wide open lens mount. I go check my email…there it is again, same wide open lens mount. I go to a photography blog…I go check the weather…again and again that wide open lens mount. It really freaked me out. I quickly closed my laptop and stepped away from the counter, thinking, “Get a hold of yourself. It’s just a camera. Get ready for today’s shoot.”
I spent the rest of the day on the go, only taking my iPhone to take calls and some text messaging, but otherwise off the cloud. I get home and the laptop is still on the counter. I hesitate, but then I laugh at myself at being so silly. I flip open the lid…and the camera is staring right at me! I quit the browser, open another browser, and go to a zen blog that I like to visit when stressed. I figure, “I’ll go to my safe and tranquil place.” But there it is!
I’m losing it. I’m really think that I’m losing it…
I really thought she was interested in me. After all, she gave off all the positive signals – she read reviews about me, asked others about me, read the specs page of my website, and even added me to her shopping cart. And then she just left me there, and for a while I thought that maybe she got a phone call or something and would be back. But seconds turned into minutes turned into thirty and then the shopping cart timed out.
She seemed nice though, not a flake…not the kind of person to just put things in a shopping cart “just for fun.” So I was sure that she’d come back for me. But she didn’t. And once again, naive camera that I am, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. “Maybe she’s just busy,” I thought to myself, so I thought that I would do her a favor and remind her that I existed. I jumped on the Internet and jumped on some banner ads on websites that she visited. I mean like nothing crazy like a pop-up window or oversized banner with animation and video. I’m not a stalker, after all, I’m more discrete than that. I’d just sit in the corner of the page in a small box, sometimes sharing space with a toaster, sometimes with a power saw.
I didn’t do anything illegal. All these reports of “stalking” are pure nonsense. I thought we had something…you know…special. I would never hurt her.
Every day, tens of thousands of photographers are tracked, stalked, and hounded by cameras. Why? It’s simple–the photographer read a review or visited a website about a camera and then that camera decides to follow the photographer for days, even weeks. Some say it’s innocent. Some say it’s like having a virtual puppy dog. We at SFU (Stop Following Us) say, “ENOUGH!” This stalking is wreaking havoc with photographers’ free time and credit cards and contributing to the growing number of older, neglected, orphan cameras. Join us at SFU, before another photographer buys another camera that they don’t need.
[This has been a public service announcement. Be careful, objects in corner of browser are closer than they appear.]