I was reading an article today about how smartphone pics are embedded with GPS data, making the pics I upload to Twitter a way that stalkers and wrongdoers can figure out my exact latitude and longitude. The subject made me think again about the information we freely share online and how it relates to our personal safety. This topic has been a subject of much debate between me and my friends, both those involved in social media and those that are not. Is Twitter really the space that I need to worry about? I mean, I was held up at gunpoint when I was in D.C. a few years ago… and I don’t think they found me because of Twitter or TwitPic or FourSquare.
Whether we like it or not, the virtual/online world, along with cyberbullying and cyberstalking is here to stay… for me and for my children and their children. So managing my online presence in a way that I feel is secure for myself and for my family is important to me. But if I begin to get paranoid about what I share in a space like Twitter, shouldn’t I be equally as paranoid about the casual conversations I drop in public spaces “in the real world?”
I make it a point not to publish my children’s real names on my blog, on Twitter, or even on my Facebook personal profile. But I do say their names out loud at the grocery store. Sometimes, I even yell them really loudly at parks and playgrounds! And in those situations, the potential pedophile doesn’t need GPS data from my phone to locate the kid that could be less than 100 feet away. How can I freely choose to expose my children to the dangers at my local playground?!?!
That’s the conclusion I come to… that yes, there is a certain amount of risk involved in sharing pieces of my life online, but not any more than the risk I take when I walk outside every day. If someone wanted to “take me out” (and I’m not talking about a date in this case), then I doubt they would need to check my Twitter stream to find out where I’ll be on any given day. It’s not exactly a state secret, if you know what I mean.
I happen to believe (based on my own real life experience) that there is more good out there than bad — “out there” being the world in general, online and offline.
photo credit: stock xchng