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TMI: The Problem of Oversharing on Social Media

September 2016

Social media. It’s world changing. It’s addictive. It’s for fun. It’s foronline-942410_960_720 business. It’s a door to reach millions of people. It’s a convenience. It’s a distraction.

Love it or hate it, you probably use it, and if you don’t, nearly everyone around you does. Whatever your opinion, the pros and cons of social media are clear, and use it or not, it’s not going anywhere any time soon.

Like all evolving technologies, there’s a learning curve when it comes to using social media, especially from a security standpoint. Of course, you can adjust the settings on your online profiles to keep strangers at bay, but just how controlled is the information you share online with friends and family?

As mentioned in a previous post, there are a few basic things you should probably refrain from posting online at all. Private information, like home addresses and personal phone numbers, are the most obvious. But the same way it’s a bad idea to openly share travel plans and details in real life, it’s also smart to avoid posting pictures and updates mid-vacation on the web. After all, it’s a home intruder’s dream to find a family on vacation, a house temporarily uninhabited. And while you might be thinking, well, none of my friends or family members are criminals! Keep in mind that even if you do trust all of your hundreds of friends and friends-of-friends and ex-co-workers and out-of-touch high school classmates, do you also trust all of their friends? Even if your account is set to private, there’s no telling who might have access to someone else’s account, and who might be granted access to your vacation updates simply by being in the right place at the right time.

Along those lines, the “check-in” feature on Facebook and other social media platforms is also something to be wary of. Just like letting people know you’re going on vacation, advertising an empty house is a risk you’re taking, even if you’re only an hour or a block away from home.

All of this goes to say that, much like with all other safety tips, it’s not about living your life in fear, but about being cautious, about taking a look from both sides of the fence and weighing your options. After all, the Internet is a powerful tool, and like any powerful tool, you’d want to make sure you understand it somewhat before using. And of course, you want the world to know what an amazing trip you’re on; what an enormous cheeseburger you’re eating! But maybe it’s not a bad idea to wait to post until you’re back home. The Internet may be a lot of things, but temporary it’s not.

Just some food for thought!