I am using the foursquare application on my iPhone. Been doing that for a couple weeks now. I am the mayor of a few locations and know where my friends are. But then again, I know where my friends are. In this world of connection, we need to look at this data overflow and who gets to see it.
You never want to walk in the house and find out the TV, computer and other valuables are gone. Yet, these new fandangled items really can let theives know when it’s time to strike. If someone knows you are at the restaurant, friends can find you, but so can others. Therefore, I offer 5 simple ways to make sure you are safer and still use these fun programs like foursquare or Gowilla – as well as the upcoming Facebook application that will also divulge your location.
- Delay your post
You don’t have to foursquare just as you get to a location. It’s sometimes cool to do when you are at lunch from work, but throwing off times might help. Posting you are at a location toward the end of your stay means you could be back home before any wrongdoing could happen.
- Don’t post when you are at a home
DO NOT make a location of your house. On the same location, don’t post where Grandma lives or any home location. A thief can watch your streams and make note of habits, but more important, know exactly where you live. Stop by stop directions is sometimes not a great idea.
- Off the Grid – You can turn off the notifications
I usually have the Facebook option turned off. Mostly because it may annoy some. If important, I will turn the Social networking option on. Then Twitter and Facebook people can know where I am. For instance, when I am covering CES or another event, I will make my locations known.
If you turn all notification off, you will be seen by others as “[Off the Grid]”. Don’t make that the habit of being home. Some people can get wise to that, too.
- Who is with you
This might be a great combatant to those who might come to cause issue. Mention you are with a group of people. “With @dave having coffee” or “Billy, Jane, and Sam are enjoying a movie”. Of course, in the movie case, try not to mention what movie you see until it is over. After all, I can pick up a paper and find out movie times and length.
- Chose your friends wisely.
Just because you get a friend request doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Foursquare and Gowilla can be walled gardens. You can also set up privacy in Facebook so others cannot see your posts. We assume friends won’t do anything bad, but reality is we call some people we don’t know friends on these network sites. Therefore, even though we lock down our privacy, we still open it up to others.
I wouldn’t get paranoid from who is watching you. You should be aware, though. In this day and age we can get caught up in cool new applications that will connect with nearby friends. It would be cool if I was sitting in a coffee shop and someone I haven’t seen in a long time were to walk up to me and say “I saw you were here from Foursquare”.
On the same level, I don’t want to come home to an empty house.