Thursday, October 15, 2009

dangers of location based status updates

Social Media experts are violating some of the most basic principles of safe blogging. They do so flippantly, with a devil-may-care attitude. This brazen disregard of wise precautions sets a lousy example for clients, women, and young people.

Due to the unprofessional behavior of Social Media experts, I state frequently that the only people who benefit from Social Media conferences are those who collect the fees. Social Media experts are basically people who promise much, ignore reality, know little about business or psychology, and expect adoration based on how popular they are. Celebrity Syndrome.

Location based status updates is a case in point.

You know, when a person tweets about what airport they're at, or what city they've just now arrived in. They get on Twitter or Plazes and proclaim to the world that they're not at home or the office. They specify sometimes in great detail exactly where they are, who they're with, and what they're doing.

Stalkers, burglars, kidnappers, rapists, angry ex-spouses, and other predators love it. You've set yourself up for an attack, and have nobody to blame but yourself.

Why do Social Media experts persist in foolish behavior? Are they too arrogant to accept critique? Do they feel impotent, all powerful? Are they just frauds altogether?

Perhaps the answer is in narcisissm, an exaggerated sense of self-importance, delusions of grandeur. "You all adore me so much, you need to know my every move and lunch menu!" This is what I suspect is the driving motivation for this stupid behavior.

"I'm a big shot. I'm in Dallas International Airport, on my way to Las Vegas for the Blogdumb Convention, at which I'm giving the boring PowerPoint keynote address! I'm very impressed with me and so are you!" seems to be the underlying semiotics, the sub-text you can read between the lines.

Ego maniacs. Self-obsessed. Full of themselves. Blinded by their own greatness, so they can't see how their actions are potentially very dangerous for others to follow. They don't care! Head in the sand! The joys of denial!

Hollywood stars love adoration, but whine like pussies about invasions of privacy...while non-celebrities share private information about their personal lives in a reckless, dangerous manner.

Alexander Vanelsas is one of the few Social Media guys who understands this topic.

Check out his well-reasoned post "The Unexpected Dangers of Social Media"


The tech community has embraced this ability and shares anything with anyone. Life streaming is the new magic word. Personally I find this concept highly overrated. Let’s face it, a lot of our daily activities aren’t interesting enough to share with the whole world.

Our lives or the things we do aren’t the same as lives of famous pop stars. It’s weird to see pop stars wishing that they’d be left alone for a while when they get harassed by press and fans. At the same time the infamous (that would be us) try to get the rest of the world to observe them as if they were pop stars by providing a life stream of things that happen.


The advantage of Robert [Scoble] publishing his traveling schedule is that he might be able to hook up with friends during his traveling.

But it makes him vulnerable in a perhaps unexpected way. I told him on Friendfeed that if I were a thief, his traveling schedule would provide me with excellent information on his whereabouts. I’d know when he would be home and when not. And I sure would know his house is filled with all kinds of expensive technology (his life stream tells me that).

It reminded me of a story on the news a few weeks ago. It turns out that car thieves in the Netherlands had found a very lucrative thieving method. They would go to the long parking area of our national airport and steal expensive cars with integrated car navigation systems. Then they would choose the “home” address on the navigation system and drive to the house of the unaware owners that were obviously on vacation.

As a result, not only their expensive car was stolen, but their house was conveniently emptied too.


30 years ago we would probably need a private detective to find out stuff about other people. Now all we need is ... Google.


Big tough macho geeks will scoff and claim that "it won't happen to me". They hate it when anybody suggests self-restraint and maturity when it comes to "cool technology". Dazzled by new apps, they throw caution to the wind, so they can divulge any information they wish. Self-disclosure strengthens their weak sense of self. Then again, what can we expect from people whose lives revolve around Star Wars mythology, internet porn, and violent video games?

Jeremy Toeman gets it and show a tweet by Loic Le Meur as an example of what not to do. "Lifecasting May Well Lead Us to Crime 2.0" and he states it well:


"They are basically open invitations for bad people to do bad things. Break-ins. Thievery. Identity theft. etc. I totally understand the desire to lifecast private details, and I occasionally slip myself. It’s easy, and I think the more in a rhythm you get of publicizing your information, they more you get “sucked into” doing it."

(COMMENT in response to Toeman's post:

I have absolutely no problem telling people I am away, if I am.

First off, how is any criminal reading it to know:

1. if I am telling the truth

2. where I live

3. that I haven’t fed my Rottweilers lately

4. that my family aren’t armed and dangerous

5. that there is anything of value in the house

6. how to get past the alarm

Loic’s tweet above is only any use to someone who has malicious intent against Loic specifically. I am sure there were thousands of other cars unattended in SFO airport at that time.


See what I mean?

These techno fools are stubborn about it. They feel that nobody can harm them, or their family, or their home.

But recent Twitter Game phishing scams have proven that these Social Media experts are just as stupid as the dumbest noob.

Many of them, delirious in their passion for everything "fun" on the internet, gave criminals their mother's maiden name and other sensitive data to enable the phishers to guess their passwords. Then the bad guys use their Twitter accounts to send out spam, or they figure out how to commit identity theft and ruin them financially.

Next time you get an invitation to attend a Social Media conference, tell them "No thanks. Idiot." Since these circuses are full of foolish geeks who don't know how to be safe and intelligent on the internet.



Ike said...

For the record, Scoble lives in a gated community.

(And in a humorous aside, he doesn't know anything about his neighbors.)

Des said...

The Loic tweet is priceless!