As I discussed a few weeks ago on the WBIR morning show, Web 2.0 / Social Media sites are all the rage these days. People are finding all kinds of uses for them, personal and business. With all the positive potential these services provide, there are some downsides that tag along as well, and we discussed them on WBIR’s morning show today. (See the video below.)
The discussion focuses on what we’re telling people online that we shouldn’t be, and it’s a valid question to consider while you’re interacting with the online community. Seemingly harmless statements like, "It’s so nice to be on vacation," could lead to bad circumstances for you and/or your family. How well do we know our online "friends"? How comfortably should we be telling the world that our houses are unoccupied for a week? This man learned the hard way (link).
And this is nothing new, but our online image is as good as reality. The trend for employers to do online searches of potential employee’s names keeps growing as we represent ourselves online more and more. Bashing somebody’s product or brand could come back to haunt you. To take it one step further, there’s at least one documented case of an employer requiring job candidates to reveal usernames and passwords for their online/social media presence. These companies are trying to see what kind of people they’re hiring and use the web to peek into our lives. Yikes!
So should we just not talk about ANYTHING online? I recently posed this question to Martin Roesch, the CEO of a well respected network security company I follow on Twitter who openly discussed current business travels in Europe online. His response was that he didn’t think he fit the profile of someone who would get broken in to since his house is well secured and though HE was out of town… the rest of his family was not. For others though, this might not be the case. He later made a good point that "people should use their judgment about the risk profile that they live within" and act accordingly.
As a full disclosure, I recently discussed my own vacation to the Southwest on Facebook, but I did NOT mention it on Twitter. I just don’t know a large majority of my followers and don’t feel comfortable sharing that type of information with them. That’s my level of comfort, though… what’s yours?
For other things to consider, check out the video and let me know what you think. Am I too paranoid?
– Dan Thompson
P.S. Special thanks to Mr. Roesch. I promise I’ll stop cyberstalking you now. :)