My main rule of social networking is that if you wouldn’t tell your priest, rabbi, minister, spouse, parents, kids, grandparents, neighbors, roommate, parole officer, landlord, doctor, or IRS tax man– don’t put it on your social networking site. Same goes for your neighborhood hoodlums.
Foursquare was designed as a way to network with people near you. You can check in electronically at a particular location, meet others around you, and even become the ‘mayor’ of a particular restaurant / store if you have the most check-ins. It’s become a point of pride to oust someone as the mayor of the Starbucks near your house. One thing is for sure, if you’re checking in at an airport or movie theater, you are broadcasting to the world that you are not at your home.
Let the backlash begin.
A new site called Please Rob Me has aggregated all Foresquare check-ins into one location. There is a disclaimer that Please Rob Me’s intent is not to have people’s homes become burglarized, but what it is doing is raising many security issues. How much sharing is too much?
We all have friends who overshare- too many updates on what their kids are doing, inane comments on who got kicked off The Bachelor- even sensitive health issues they should be talking to their doctor about instead of posting on Facebook. (And maybe we’ve all been a little bit guilty of posting things like this?)
We have become complacent in our social networking habits. A friend request comes in from someone you haven’t seen since elementary school. Although you may have had a lot of fun playing on the swings with this person 25 years ago, do you know anything else about them, or what they’ve been doing?
Anyone who is jumping into social networking needs to know that you put on Twitter, Foresquare, Facebook is out there for the world to see.
In the meantime, next time I Twitter about a conference I’m attending or client I’m visiting, please note that my tough-as-nails husband and vicious dogs will be home. I promise.