Everyone knows that you shouldn’t broadcast that you’re not going to be home for a while to everyone who might pass through your neighborhood. What a lot of people don’t know is that you equally shouldn’t post that you’re not going to be home to everyone who might pass through your Facebook page. Doing so can let clever, evil web surfers know that you’re a temporarily easy mark just as surely as a note on the front door telling people you’re not home and can’t answer the door.
This may become a problem this winter, because skiing in Colorado has just partnered up with making posts on social media. That means that people are going to be able to post things like “I just aced a Black Diamond run” which is the same as telling a cyber-scout for theft “I’m not home, come hit me”. Obviously, no one should live in fear that they’re going to be spied on in social websites any more than they should be paranoid in the rest of their lives, but a measure of sense is needed to ensure your safety.
For starters, everyone needs to set their accounts so that only confirmed friends can see their status updates and anything else that could give away your location and whether you’re somewhere that makes you an easy target for criminals. There are plenty of people out there who never even bother with such basic levels of Internet security, even though it can be the same as painting a proverbial bull’s-eye on their houses.
And so we continue to walk the razor’s edge between greater convenience and greater vulnerability in all regards. Someone who’s particularly dedicated may be able to find anything from your last address to your social security number, but there’s still no reason to make it any easier for people to find these things than it already is. Using social media to help coordinate with your friends can be a great way to enjoy something like skiing together. However, you don’t want to share too much info when you don’t know who else may be reading it.