For years, the majority of crushes I developed on men progressed in the following way:
Meet someone interesting or good looking- usually both.
Learn a tiny bit about them in real life. (Usually something like a good presentation or decent outfit...)
Return from classes and surreptitiously log onto Facebook, immediately searching for them by any means- first name, last name, mutual friends, email, networks.
Find said person and immediately check relationship status.
If single, proceed with thoughts of walks in the park holding hands or, you know, getting married. (Anything is possible, right?)
If dating, proceed with thoughts of walks in the park holding hands or, you know, getting married. (It's not real until there is a ring on her finger, right?)
If engaged, proceed with thoughts of walks in the park holding hands or, you know, getting married. (Engaged couples sometimes break up, right?)
If married, lose interest completely. (I've got SOME moral boundaries, and "homewrecker" is not a title I'm looking to add to the repertoire.)
At this point, if still interested and imagining what our future children would look like, proceed to "info" page. Check out various affiliations- political (that can shut my interest down in a quick second or turn me on completely), religious (no Satanists, but no Bible Thumpers either).
Make quick judgements about the person based on their taste in music, whether or not they have read (what I deem) good books, movie preferences, and their job and education history.
Make further judgements about their choice of degree- continue with interest for anything sociological in nature, become intrigued with those involved in science or mathematics, develop skeptical curiosity for arts majors, judge people in business or marketing as shallow and black-souled, and completely shut down the computer for any Christian Ministries majors.
If still interested at this point, continue on to look at the Facebook "Wall." A source of amazing stalker-quality information, determine social status based on wall postings. Get jealous of that really pretty girl who seems to be "friends" with all the guys, and notice whether or not family is important. Make judgements based on friends and recent activity.
This is where things become quite serious. Proceed first to profile pictures. A safe gateway into the visual world, this allows one to see what type of person they WANT to be seen as- fun, eccentric, artistic, serious, likable, sociable, alone, important- the list goes on. Immediately forget said person if their profile picture is taken from above with a cell phone camera, or one of those shirtless mirror photos. Pretend you accidently searched for them by mistake.
If still interested, proceed to "all pictures." This, friends, is where things get serious. This is where unflattering pictures (not physically, but situational- I'm talking crazy parties or video game shots) can either hurt them or kill them, depending on how well they match the above criteria. For instance, some unflattering pictures are okay if they are perfectly aligned with my political and religious views, interesting enough, enjoy good music, have a really great major, and choose profile pictures that are insightful without being overly narcissistic. However, if they have a dumb major and seem to be involved in stupid things and have a profile picture taken that just reeks of self-importance, there is no more stalking to be done.
If still interested (there were about 2 guys EVER who made it to this point), giggle and then proceed to check out their profile whenever possible. Grow intensely jealous of their female friends and never let them know you have a clue who they are. Because things would be seriously awkward if by some miracle you had an actual conversation with said person. "My favorite book is..." "Yeah, I know." See how things can get weird?
This is how I used to crush.
Men: If you are reading this and think I'm crazy, think again. The specifics of my crush progression might be off (some women are into vapid, shallow marketing majors :) but I promise that someone has done this to you at some point. If fact, depending on the person you are, there is a chance that some woman is doing this to you right now, as you read. Don't log into Facebook and do anything- you are just feeding the stalking frenzy.
Now, I develop interest in people who- (GET THIS)- I am not even friends with on Facebook. GASP. I get to know them over a period of time, not while sitting bleary eyed in front of the computer screen at 4 in the morning avoiding that research paper. I learn about their interests and their family and their lives and their goals and the person they are- judgement is still there, but it is a lot harder to shut someone down for superficial reasons if they are speaking with you and know you exist. I have no idea what their father looks like (and therefore no gauge for their eventual aging process) and develop a relationship with their personality, not their friends and their Facebook activity.
I kind of like it.
I think I've matured, yes? I'm not saying this new way is better- I'm just commenting on the difference :)