I started my day yesterday just like any other Monday morning. I poured a cup of coffee, fired up my computer, and logged into Facebook in order to to see what my social sphere was up to. Amidst the pictures and status updates was a shared note. Now, if you’re from this area, you know exactly what note I’m talking about. Over the past 24 hours, a story concerning an incident at a Blenheim, Ontario Tim Hortons location has been heating up the Internet. (more…)
Welcome to the Timeline
Since the beginning of time Facebook time, your profile has been the place where you tell your story. It’s where you experienced your first poke, and where you were tagged for the first time. Facebook helped you dump your first boyfriend, and provided you with the perfect place to creep future prospects. Facebook was your public diary, a place to publish all of the ridiculously dumb things you’ve done during the past six years. (more…)
When on vacation, most people cannot wait to share the details of their trip with their family and friends. Uploading and sharing pictures to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, or checking in with Foursquare certainly is a lot of fun, but share too much and you could be putting your self and your home in danger. Below are a few factors to consider before posting your photo or status update.
Avoid Status Updates
Oversharing photos, status updates, and check-ins will put you at risk for being burglarized while you are away. Although your family and friends will love the shots of you enjoying a drink on the beach, it will provide the perfect roadmap for burglars to know where you are, what you are doing, and when you are likely to return. Sharing a status update lets burglars know that you are miles away, making your home the perfect target.
Want to Share That Hilarious Picture?
It is difficult to completely avoid using social media altogether, so if you feel the need to post a picture or share a status update, there are a few important factors to consider. Make sure that your address and telephone number or contact information are not published online anywhere, especially on your social networking profile. If you’re an avid Foursquare networker or Facebook Places fan, you may want to wait until you leave a certain destination to check-in, instead of when you arrive, so that criminals do not know the exact time you were there. It’s also extremely important that you make sure your smartphone has the geo-tagging feature turned off in order to ensure that any location-based metadata is removed from your image.
Location, Location, Location
Geo-tagging is the process of adding geographical identification information to a form of media, including photos, tweets, twitpics, status updates, videos, or SMS messages. Many people are not aware that their smartphone will geo-tag pictures automatically, which immediately shares their geographical location with others when shared on a social media site. If you’re unsure how to disable the geo-tagging feature on your phone, check out ICanStalkU.com. This site was created to raise awareness about the dangers of inadvertent information sharing and includes instructions for disabling geo-tagging on a variety of smartphone devices.
Check Your Privacy Settings
When sharing personal information via a social media site, it is important that you check your privacy settings and make sure that only close friends and family can see your profile. Criminals often set up a profile and join many groups that you may also be a part of, and through these groups they are able to receive hourly or daily updates on your whereabouts. In order to avoid this, ensure that you have your profile locked down and inaccessible to prying eyes. Also, make sure that you think twice about who will be seeing your profile before uploading your cell phone pictures or status updates to a social media site.
Avoid Bragging About Your Toys
Posting a status update about how you miss your Macbook computer or your 60″ TV while you are on vacation makes you an automatic target for burglars. Burglars like when you brag about where you are or what you have, as you are revealing valuable information to them. For this reason, it is important that you carefully consider which information you want to share via social media sites. You may miss your Macbook now, but you’ll miss it even more if someone breaks in and steals it while you’re away.
Sharing vacation pictures and status updates can be fun, but it can also be dangerous. Think before you post, and if possible, wait until you get home to share all the awesome details of your time away.