Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn are amazing. They’ve revolutionized the way we use the internet. The media industry realized it and have taken advantage of it by posting things in real time. Companies are starting to clue in that social media is important, not to just manage what’s being said about their company, but also to generate sales. And everyday people have developed business ideas based on it. Transparency and openness is at an all time high.
But when does transparency become dangerous?
Gowalla, Foursquare, Google Latitude are all in the location based social media game. They let followers on Twitter and elsewhere know where you are at that moment. The first two make a game out of it. I’ve been on foursquare. I played for a bit but stopped. Why? I got slightly paranoid about people knowing where I was all the time.
I just didn’t want people showing up to where I was unannounced. Then a couple weeks ago, I heard a story from a friend. I’ll give you three tweets. You tell me what happened.
“Parked behind TD Bank, taking the TTC downtown. No parking fees! – from Echofon”
“I’m at Coxwell Subway Station(1568 Danforth Ave at Coxwell Ave, Toronto). – from Foursquare”
“I’m at The Mod Club Theatre (722 College St, at Crawford, Toronto). – from Foursquare”
He’s since then decided not to post his location publicly.
Now there is a website that hopes to enlighten people to think before they tweet. While their idea/method may be a little controversial, it does accurately cause one to think.
PleaseRobMe.com starts off with a banner saying “Listing all those empty homes out there.” The idea is simple. If people are checking in from other places, it means they aren’t home. The site pulls tweets from Twitter/Foursquare and displays this way;
Scary, but true.
I have two tips.
- Never include your home address, in any post, ever. Don’t create a Foursquare location for your house. I hope to never see “Checking in at Home” in any of your tweets.
- Delay foursquare check ins. I know this sort of runs contrary to the idea of it. But you can still play the game and then check in to all the places you were that day at a later time.
Openness/honesty is great, but be careful about being too open. Too transparent. You may end up a target.