Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Facebook, twitter, and stalkers, oh my!

Social networking. The ever increasing phenom of social networking is completely fascinating to me. As a ‘member’ of twitter, facebook, myspace (past tense really), blogger, and – I am all over the place with internet updates. However, I got to thinking after a recent episode of Criminal Minds (I’m obsessed), how much information is too much information?

See, I’ve never been someone who posts my drama on facebook. That’s not how I handle fights with friends. I’ve never put a relationship or anything about who I’m dating up on any of my sites (except to occasionally make fun of a guy, without his name, on my blog). And I don’t add people I don’t know, although I do let anyone who wants follow me on twitter and there are people on my facebook who despite thinking they know me, don’t really. I usually confirm all my friend invites, assuming I've probably met the person somewhere along the way and have just forgotten.

During this Criminal Minds episode, the girls who are targeted by the seriel killer are girls who are obsessive with social networking. He finds them via a facebook type site and proceeds to follow their statuses, learning all about them. He later uses this information to know when they aren’t home and he breaks in and places cameras in their houses (I know, creepy). And later he uses the cameras in conjuction with knowing their routines and schedules to carry out his evil plans.

So I realize this isn’t real. It’s 'just' a TV show. BUT there have been plenty of stories in the news over the past year or so of people who’s statuses have gotten them in trouble. Either people breaking into their houses while they know they’re out of town (because of twitter). Guys on college campuses becoming obsessed with and stalking girls via facebook. You get the idea. So despite this show being fiction, I do wonder if there isn’t something to be said for being careful how much you say, and monitoring who you allow to know your business…is it ironic I’m thinking this ‘aloud’ on my blog? Bare with me.

After reading an article about how to keep yourself safe on the internet, I did take my year of birth off facebook (they say this increases your chances of having your identity stolen). I have started changing my passwords with more frequency to avoid being 'hacked'. And my facebook profile only includes my name, e-mail address, and quotes. But the truth is, a smart enough person could probably do some damage with just that! So, do I go through and delete hundreds of people from my facebook and lock down my twitter to only those I allow to follow? What's the course of action here? I don't want to quit social networking...I love staying connected with people all over and keeping up with their lives.

Food for thought anyway...ideas welcomed.



H246 said...

I'm with you, I am super paranoid about what I share alone. I have very little information on my facebook and only add people I know. I randomly google myself to see what comes up and change information as I see fit! One can never be too safe!

I remember when part of your facebook profile was your class schedule. It had profs, times, room number, etc. That didn't last too long!

Nicole said...

This is VERY interesting! My mom used to always tells me to change my daily routine like route wise so if anyone was keeping an eye on me it would confuse them. As for social networking... I see your point there is someone on Twitter who uses the location function and its gives a map and addy to where she is! That's very risky and I wouldn't do it. People know my city and I use my Nicknames so for identity theft I think I am good. I think in thise day and age all personal info should be kept to a minimum. I just saw on the news people can hack into phone calls, emails, and even texts! Now that's scary :(

Tara said...

eek. i need to see this criminal minds episode! how creepy.

Joy Engdahl said...

um yes, that episode terrified me. for real!

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