I grew up in a household where my Mother was obsessive about locking the doors and never believed in going out after dark by oneself. Although I have not adopted all of her ideologies on safety I do have a problem with certain aspects of technology that I believe put us as risk. Some are unknown to us; others I think we just lack proper consideration for the potential repercussions. Being in the social media industry I want to be supportive of all mediums that help enhance our lifestyle or brands, but there are limits when it comes to safety.
Just this week I learned that when you take a photo with your cell phone there is an embedded GPS, that come enabled on most smart phones, which marks the location coordinates of every photo taken. It is called a geo tag. What this means to the user is when you take a photo of your children at the park near your home and upload it on Facebook (or anywhere else on Internet) the person viewing it can track down the specific location where the photo was taken within 15 feet with only a few clicks of the mouse. There is a website called www.icanstalku.com that actually scans Twitter posts to find geo tagged photos and posts who they stalked and their location as a way to increase awareness. Think of all the things you might take photos of and post them on the Internet. Selling a diamond ring you photographed on your kitchen counter and placing it up for sale on Craiglist.com or Ebay, selling a car and photographing it in front of your home, posting photos from Disneyland on Facebook in real time, etc. Think of all the ways you are leaving yourself open to predators. Just like when buying followers on Instagram, it is not wise to just depend on one provider. You should consider some factors and make sure that your provider is a reliable one. Buy Instagram followers cheap and yet quality, real and active.
Another social media outlet I struggle with is Foursquare and Places. If you have a mortgage on your home a quick check with the county auditors office will more than likely reveal your address in the scanned copy of the Deed of Trust on your home. Now you are out and about telling people that for starters – you’re not home, and secondly – just how far away from your home you actually are. Is that really wise? As much as I can appreciate trying to promote a business by saying that you and all your friends are there having a great time you open yourself up to the person who is waiting for you to put your guard down. Not to mention the number of kids that have smart phones and by disclosing their location could leave them susceptible to kidnappers or pedophiles.
By no means am I saying I think we should stop taking photos and sharing them, or implying that everyone should stop using Foursquare or Places. Just be aware of the risks and make an informed decision when you do something that seems so innocent. If you would like to disable the geo tag feature on your phone please visit http://www.icanstalku.com/how.php#disable for a list of phones and instructions on how to disable them.