Quick, lock the doors! Hide your children! Close the curtains. Or…
You could just stop posting private information up on Facebook.
And you could actually only “friend” people that you know. I realize that might make farming, running your mafia and maintaining your zoo more difficult, but it is an option.
Or you could just stop posting private information.
I’m lucky, I learned from a young age–of say, 40, that it is unwise to post ANYTHING on the Internet (and email “is” the Internet) that you wouldn’t want your mother, pastor, or grandmother to read or see. So perhaps you might want to untag yourself on some of those “girls gone wild” photos while you are interviewing at conservative financial organizations. Employers have started checking Facebook, mySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn before making job offers. Posting, “Hate my boss, can’t wait to steal all the office supplies when I go” may be frowned upon by potential employers.
And this new social “joining” or “personalization” that pops up when you go to other sites can have consequences. Do you really want your mother seeing how you voted on HuffPo’s “Funniest Parenting Fails of All Time?” Worse, do you want them to see the picture of their child as one of the examples in the Top 10? For the record, this is NOT my child (although we’ve considered this option on more than one occassion)
Come on, be honest…I know you’ve considered it once or twice too. But do you want Granny to know? She thinks her grandchildren are perfect.
The next bit of privacy you might want to consider is not inviting bad people to rob your house. When you post, “Can’t wait to hit the islands” or “Thanks for watching the dog while we are out of town for the weekend” are just, well, STUPID. Hello! There is actually a web site that is trying to remind you this is a bad thing: Please Rob Me. Although they’ve temporarily (?) closed their site, their message was frighteningly clear: Twittering, Facebooking (it’s a verb?) and FourSquaring (that was always just a game at camp when I was a kid) yourself is a bad thing.
You may think that “Chillin at the 4th and Market Starbucks, drinking a half-caf, double down, 20,000 calorie beverage” is just your way of checking in with your peeps, but it’s also an invitation for bad people to GO ROB YOUR HOUSE BECAUSE YOU ARE AT 4TH AND MARKET. True, you might have a vicious guard dog at home, or a husband who knows karate. But do you really want to take the chance?
So many of my friends have cell phone numbers and addresses on Facebook and if it isn’t locked down, the creepy guy sitting next to you at work who is a “friend of a friend” of yours on Facebook KNOWS WHERE YOU LIVE. Granted, there are many ways to discover this info if he’s “really” creepy, but do you want to give him any help?
I’ll admit, because I blog and have a web site and my own business, it is freakishly easy to find me. This is the price I pay for using the Internet for something other than Facebook (I know that is a shock to my family and friends). But I make every attempt to keep my private information off the web.
A quick trip to mySpace (which is really a little creepy if only from a graphic design perspective) revealed some scary information.
I blurred out both MY zip code and the girls’ last names but COME ON Shaunice, Cairia, Ashley, and the other 235 single girls who are looking for love within 5 miles of my house (where the creepy guy above tends to stay)–do you REALLY want to share this kind of information?
There is a new program out there–ReclaimPrivacy.org that scans your Facebook page and tells you how to make it more private. They also have some links to articles that might be helpful.
I’m not saying we should hide our children and close the curtains–okay, some of you might want to close the curtains–or delete your Facebook account. I love Facebook and have reconnected with amazing people from my past (I’ve got another entry coming on that one), but in the words of Sgt. Esterhouse (wow, I’m dating myself), “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”