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Tweeting Your Life Away: Common Sense for Social Media


We live in the moment these days and it’s not uncommon to browse through tweets and Facebook posts and find friends out of town or off on a day trip somewhere. Call me crazy, but it makes me nervous every time I see a post about “We’re driving to Thredbo this week! Wish us luck!” or “Off to America- see everyone on Sunday!”

TMI? (Too much information?)

I’m a mother, so I’m already paranoid, but seeing someone advertise their location makes me cringe. Foursquare is enough to give me twitches. It’s not really that I expect a stalker to track down my friend driving to California with her husband and small children. It’s more about her very large home now sitting empty a few miles away from me.

Thanks to her quick tweet and post, everyone she’s decided to friend or anyone who has signed up to follow her tweets can keep up with her travel progress and everyone also knows that her home is empty. All it takes is one person to decide to visit during this week, and she’s suddenly a victim.

Sharing Secrets

I’m not an overly private person. I’ll show you my stretchmarks and swap grueling stories of pregnancy if you’d like. I run a business so my name and contact information is all over the internet. I am often criticized for having my phone number published online by my friends, but it’s my business cell phone and that’s just part of working online. It’s a very fine line to walk between sharing and spilling your guts. I’d much rather have my name and cell phone online than make it a habit of letting the world know every time I leave the house.

Common Sense Online

If you’re part of a social network, you already know the benefits of keeping connected with friends and how much that network can help to build your business. It would be prudent, however, to use common sense when communicating with that network.

As I wrote this, I got a Twitter pop-up in the corner of my screen from a work colleague letting us all know that he was gone on vacation this week. If I dug around a bit more I might be able to come up with his address and then I’d have carte blanche to do damage – not that I would, of course, but you’d think someone who makes his living on social networks would exercise just a bit more caution, but then it might be our comfort with the networks that makes us foolish.

Unless you’re open to callers from around the globe like I am, don’t bother putting your cell phone, email address or family blog online. Think of Facebook as a bar – it’s jam-packed with friendly people all sharing their life stories and pictures of their kids, but you don’t go handing out your personal phone line or email address to everyone around you. Likewise you don’t throw out blanket invitations to come swimming or to come over and have a few beers either – invite everyone and then you might as well expect them all plus some.

Enjoy social media and if you’re running a small business, put it work for you. In doing so, however, use common sense and protect yourself and your loved ones by exercising just a wee bit of discretion at the same time. You’ll be far better for it.

Rebecca Garland is a professional freelance writer and blogger working hard to populate the internet with interesting, informative content. With advanced degrees in business and information science, she takes an interest in a range of topics including video walls and freelancing content. You can learn more about Rebecca on her website, www.internetauthor.net.


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