August 14, 2007

"If you socialize through the internet you're putting your life, and your possessions, at risk."

Do you have a Facebook account? What about a Myspace page? A Twitter profile? A personal blog? Do you enjoy telling your family and friends what you're doing through online media? If you socialize through the internet you're putting your life, and your possessions, at risk.

Users of social services like Twitter and Pownce are telling friends and family what they're doing as they are doing it. Blog owners write about travel arrangements and vacation plans. People are sharing information seamlessly through the internet for family and friends.

But they're also sharing private information with complete strangers. Strangers who could easily take advantage of the knowledge the internet gives to them, robbing a web user blind, or worse.

Twitter users are often posting about their daily schedules - that's what Twitter is for. Friends like to know when friends are getting off work. Family wants to know when other family members are heading over for a game of cards. If a thieve, however, was to find a Twitter page of a resident whose home they were aware of, all they would have to do is monitor Twitter updates to find out when that person will not be home, and then rob them.

Getting updates on Twitter is as easy as clicking a button. You can even have other people's Twitter updates sent directly to your cell phone. Now imagine how useful that could be for a would-be thief. All they have to do is subscribe to a neighbors Twitter updates, wait until an update saying "Going on vacation," or "Off to work" and then break into their home while the person is away.

The same goes for bloggers who post about vacationing plans. If a thief knows you're not going to be home (via blog) what's to stop them from attempting to burglarize your home? Even worse, if somebody knows that you're going to be at the grocery store, local car repair shop, etc., what's to stop them from finding you and causing you harm?

Socializing online is a dangerous game, but not a complete waste. Don't be afraid to blog or update your Twitter or social site profiles. Just stay away from getting too personal with the internet. After-all, not everyone on the internet is here to help others. A lot of people are online to help themselves.

Protect yourself, keep personal things personal.