I’m rather disgusted with people right now. They apparently don’t seem to realize that everything they do and say online, particularly on a site like Facebook can be held against them. Not only that but most of the stuff that’s cool on Facebook right now is frankly, dangerous.
The Dangers of “Checking In”
Take for example, the new burst in popularity on Foursquare. I can’t go to a McDonald’s without being prompted to “check in.” I’m supposed to be publicizing my location for all of my friends and family to see so that we call all hang out together at the drive-thru, I guess, but the thought of posting that makes me nervous.
Just think of what you’re telling everyone when you post your location. For one, you’re admitting to eating McDonalds, but that’s not my main concern. The main problem is that you’re letting everyone know where you’re NOT. If you’re on a weeklong vacation, you’re not at home. Any friend who comments on your status lets his friends in to your page, too.
Even if you block others, how well do you really know every one of the people you friend on Facebook? Would someone be interested in the fact that your house is sitting empty for five days? Even if you’re just gone for twenty minutes to the drive-thru, you’re creating enough time for a clever Facebook user to get into your garage to take out some items to pawn or to unlock a window so he can get back in later for the good stuff.
That’s not to mention the possibility of a Facebook stalker. If you have someone who really likes you and won’t leave you alone, or a “friend” who you only know from online chats who might be a sixty-year-old sexual predator, by telling them where you are every hour or so, you’re making yourself a very easy target. You might wind up with unwanted attention from the boy you have to keep rejecting, or you might wind up the subject of a police investigation.
Stalkers and internet predators aside, there are so many brilliantly stupid things posted on Facebook that everyone seems to think will simply fade into their past. For example, if you take a picture of you drinking and carrying on and then get pulled over for driving under the influence thirty minutes later, lawyers can subpoena your page and print those pictures out along with the status and time you posted them.
If you are applying for a great new job, one of the first things many companies now check are posts on social media sites like Facebook. If you have a ton of messages about how much you hated your old boss visible for the public, good luck with the job application. Like to play hooky? Don’t post about it – you might lose that job before you even had it. Even colleges are getting in on the act. Just try posting something on Facebook that breaks the rules of your dorm or the legal system of your college or university. You can be denied your degree and have charges brought against you as well.
That sort of trouble can follow you forever – all because you thought it would be funny to flash some gang signs or take pictures of your drinking buddies.