eSocial: I dream about internet marketing….and palm trees

Please Don’t Rob Me
February 19, 2010, 2:53 pm
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pleaserobme.comIn my last post I really hyped up Foursquare, and how it can be beneficial for business, and I still believe it is beneficial for businesses. However, Foursquare does pose potential hazards for individual users if abused.

This week, the buzz of the Social Media World surrounded a new website, The site lists “Recently Empty Homes” and “New Opportunities.” via a feed of foursquare users who have recently left home and checked in someplace.

The site creators say that they invented the site to remind people of to be cautious about what information they release about themselves on social media sites for the world to see.

As you may remember, I indicated that I was slightly nervous about trying out foursquare for similar reasons. I realized that by “checking in” and foursquare giving a map of exactly where I was, that some crazy person out there may want to come mug me, stalk me, exc, and rightfully so because there have been reports that criminals are turning to social media to prey on their victims.

The potential dangers of revealing your location go beyond foursquare. When you use Facebook, Twitter or any other social site that allows you to post your status, you are exposing yourself these criminals, especially now that Social Media results show up in search engines.

We use our Facebook Status to tell our friends where we are going and what we are doing for the day, such as “school, work then the gym,” or  “off to Miami until Monday.” All of these status updates clearly indicate that we are not at home, making our home and ourselves an easy target. But it’s also worth mentioning that just because someone knows that you are not home, it doesn’t mean they know where your home is. It’s also possible that someone else is home, even if you are not!

I’m not saying that you should stop updating our status or using foursquare. I’m saying that you should monitor who sees your updates and information.

All of these Social Networking Sites have privacy settings so that you can manage who sees your information. You can set your Facebook Profile to private, making your profile unsearchable to search engines. You can also set what information is publicly accessible in the search engine, should you choose to be searchable. You can even choose who can and can’t search for you within Facebook, and you can make certain information hidden from select friends.

On Twitter, you can set your profile to private as well, making followers send you a request before they can see your updates. If you choose to be visible, take a look at your new followers, and if someone seems shady, you can block them.

Just remember that there are always people who will abuse technology. You don’t have to stop using social media, just be cautious of who you allow to see your information by managing your privacy settings and follower lists.  It’s not rocket science here people!