Thursday, March 25, 2010

Do you ever consider how much information you put online about your kids, yourself, your friends and your job?

Close up of a computer monitor with keyboard and hard-drive tied together with a chain and pad-lock
I've put a great deal of thought into information on posts and social networks lately. Especially when someone I social network with commented on my "ad nauseam" postings about my toddler.

She wasn't being offensive, and I wasn't offended.

It is true.

I post A LOT of stuff about my daughter--especially on Facebook--so that my parents can feel active in her life.

But is it safe?

I think because we are forced to accept 'friends' on Facebook before they can see our posts, it leads us to some false sense of security. I post information and pictures about my daughter on Facebook that I would never post here...because it's more secure.


You may have already heard, but a Kentucky woman reported that a Facebook 'friend' broke into her house after posting she was going out for the evening.

NewsAndTribune.com reports,"Keri McMullen...said she posted a message on the popular social networking Web site stating that she and her fiancee would be watching a band play at Louisville’s Phoenix Hill Tavern."

She reports that she and her sister both connected with the thief, someone they knew from their past, about six months ago.
“I haven’t seen him in over 20 years,” McMullen
said. “He grew up across the street from us, so I wouldn’t have recognized him. I never would have put two and two together.”
I can't say I'm surprised. It was only a matter of time, and has probably happened more than has been reported.

I think about the security and privacy issue often when I see friends post about their vacation plans or related information online.

I'm guilty of it, too.

There's another Social Networking tool called "Foursquare" that lists TMI (IMHO).

The Foursquare concept is interesting--it allows you to share your real-time location through your cellphone in order to meet up with others, earn points, and, in some cases, discounts, products and services.

And when I say it shares your info, I mean IT.SHARES.YOUR.INFO.

For example, if I check in on Foursquare at a McDonald's, it lists, "Jackie has just checked in at McDonald's, XXX Main Street" and provides a map. The posts can be linked to Twitter and Facebook.

That's a lot of information to put out there in the deep and wide Web world.

Look, I'm not a big, "OOOH! Don't list anything online because the big bad social networking boogeyman is going to get you!" But, I do believe in being safe or, at least safer.

A recent New York Times article discussed online privacy, or lack of, in an unsettling article called "How Privacy Vanishes Online.
“Technology has rendered the conventional definition of personally identifiable information obsolete,” said Maneesha Mithal, associate director of the Federal Trade Commission’s privacy division. “You can find out who an individual is without it.”
So, what can we do? If people are going to find out who we are anyway, no matter what we post on social networks, what should we do?

Just be a little more careful.
It's that simple.

Need help? Check out some of these posts:
Well, I need to jump off. I'm going out tonight. The key is under the mat, right next to the file marked "LOGINS AND PASSWORDS."


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