Everyone’s enamored with social media these days. We talk about ourselves all the time. Even WordPress is a place for social interaction. With the Christmas season, I feel even more compelled to post this reminder, when we’ll all be posting more frequently.
Christmas season is a time of parties, shopping, travel, vacations, possibly all at once. Remember whatever you post is out there for everyone to see. This includes people who are predatory in nature. Let’s look at some examples.
“Awesome snow in Aspen. Two weeks of fun ahead.” What you just told someone is that you are not at home for fourteen days. This applies to long shopping days too. “Getting it all done in one day. Two malls and eight hours to go. Wish me luck.” This means, “Feel free to load up my plasma TV, oh and there’s beer in the fridge. Help yourself.”
We have to manage a multitude of passwords. The most common password out there is the name of a pet. This is encouragement enough to choose a different password, but think of this. “Look Twitter, isn’t Petunia adorable in her little hat!”
Have you ever signed up for a service, and they let you choose a security question in case you forget your password? Common ones are the name of your pet, what high school did you attend, or what is your mother’s maiden name?
Post this on Facebook: “Here’s a picture of me and my cousin Vinnie Pallacio at our ten year reunion in Pahrumph, Nevada. Doesn’t Vinnie look good with his hair transplants?” If Paraumph only has one high school, someone might be able to answer your security question. If Vinnie is your first cousin, your mother’s maiden name might be easy to guess.
How many people post birthday wishes on social media? If someone knows your date of birth and mother’s maiden name, they might be able to raise all kinds of hell with your credit. Okay, they might have to guess at the year, but maybe a different post told them about your ten year reunion.
Post number one might say, “I’m hiding all the Christmas presents in my car this year. That way the kids can’t snoop without a key.” Then a different post says, “I had to use the parking tower this morning. Three blocks in the snow to get to my office.” Bring the crowbar, I know where there’s a bunch of presents just waiting for us.
Kids read your posts too. “Look at the cool rollerblades I bought my nephew.” This might be less damaging, but it can still ruin a surprise.
Even the police will read social media. “I’m so wasted, and I don’t have a designated driver.” Um, never mind. Go ahead and post that one.
My point is that sometimes we reveal too much. We always assume our friends are reading about our high jinks. (Don’t worry, they still are.) We may not realize who else is reading this stuff.
It isn’t too hard to modify our postings if we think about it. “Had the best time in Aspen, but glad to be home.” Maybe we can say, “My dog is adorable, but she doesn’t like her little hat.”
I’m not trying to be a downer, but I want everyone to stay safe and have a great holiday season. I’m not perfect, and have made these mistakes myself. I was never robbed, but I’m going to be more careful from now on too.
Please feel free to repost this and share it with your loved ones and friends.