I know many people love to post things about their lives online, especially when they go on vacation. I’ve seen so many people post a countdown of when they’re leaving, information about where they’re going, and how long they’ll be gone. I’ve even seen status updates complete with pictures of the people at the airport waiting to depart. Then, while they’re on vacation, they constantly post updates – pictures of the places they visit, things they see, meals they’re eating, and all of the delightful details about their adventures away from home. There’s only one problem with doing that. They’re basically announcing to a bunch of people – some of them strangers – that their house is being left unattended for a long period of time, that they’re nowhere near it, and won’t be there for some time. Those constant updates ensure that someone who maybe didn’t see the message at first will eventually get the point that they’re away.
I constantly get things in my Facebook feed about people I don’t know, and I’m sure you do too. If someone on my friends list ‘likes’ something that someone else posted, it often shows up in my Facebook account. I have access to amazing amounts of personal information about people I’ve never met. I would never break into someone’s house, but if you don’t know me, would you want me to know you were out of town? If I’m getting information about people I don’t know, I’m sure many other people are getting the same information. So, unless you have extremely private settings, be sure that anything you post is being seen by people you don’t know and possibly can’t trust. Take advantage of the privacy settings that are available. I got this from Facebook: “Your privacy is very important to us. We designed our Data Policy to make important disclosures about how you can use Facebook to share with others and how we collect and can use your content and information. We encourage you to read the Data Policy, and to use it to help you make informed decisions.” I recommend that you learn about the policies, and update your privacy settings whenever possible. Even with the best privacy settings around, however, use caution. I once heard someone say that you should imagine that anything you post online is on a billboard. I really think that’s great advice.
There was a report on CNN about a woman who put a statement about going to a concert one night as her status. When she and her fiancé returned that same night, they found out they had been robbed of more than $11,000 worth of their property. They later found out it was some former classmates of hers. Whether they were her Facebook ‘friends’ or friends of a friend, the wrong people got her information. If someone can cause that much trouble for someone who is away from home for an evening, imagine what could happen if someone is going away for a weekend, a week, or longer!
I highly recommend you update your privacy setting, but the smart thing to do is to hide your excitement and wait until you return home to post those pictures from your vacation!
Facebook link about privacy: https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms
What others see about you: https://www.facebook.com/what-others-see-about-you/