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Stop Making These Social Media Privacy Mistakes

Look, I get it. As a social media expert by trade and social media junkie by night, I completely understand the obsession our current culture has with constantly being connected. The first thing many of us do when we wakeup is scroll through our digital newsfeed to find out what we missed during the 8 or so hours we begrudgingly had to unplug and go to bed for.
We see friends and strangers share news stories that interest them, information about what they’ll be up to or where they’re going, and TMI about their babies as we haphazardly continue to scroll and double tap.
Scrolling past information about the whereabouts of friends and strangers probably doesn’t faze most of us anymore because the prevalence of over-sharing has caused us to become desensitized to the dangers social media users regularly expose themselves to.
Twitter and Instagram users typically have unlocked accounts allowing their information to be public knowledge to anyone who stumbles upon their profiles. What makes it easier to find out where you live?
Regional Hashtags: Let’s admit it. We’re all dying to rack up the likes, follows, favorites and retweets. A big part of getting them is using hashtags. The problem is that once you use a regional hashtag, your profile is automatically linked to a location, substantially narrowing down the barriers to finding your home.
Did you know that there are third party apps that allow people to automatically download and save photos or tweets shared using any specified hashtags a predator wants? Whether you choose to delete the photo a month, day or even minute later, it doesn’t matter because the wrong sorts of people could have already saved it automatically and added you to their regional list.
Checking-in: This is a Facebook feature many of us, myself included, love to use to show off the cool spots we enjoy going to. Whether you’re checking in at a restaurant, hotel, airport or spa, you’re letting people know that you’ve just landed at your current location and will be there for a good chunk of time.
How do I safely check-in? I only click the button when I’m leaving wherever it is I’ve gone and am en-route home. Anyone who tries to drop by my place without an invitation will get the surprise of their life when they find that my car is already in the parking lot and I’m on the front porch people watching with my dog.
Creating Travel Photo Albums: I have a friend on my Facebook crazy enough to reveal that she and her husband were spending their long weekend away from home with their dog being babysat by a relative. She created an entire Facebook album about the trip, tagging the location and telling everyone exactly how long they would be gone for. Anyone who has her on Facebook (over 600 people) knows that she lives alone with her husband and dog. The fact that she chose to broadcast the news that their home would be vacant for 3 days is beyond me, but she should thank her lucky stars none of her Facebook friends took advantage of her naivety.
It’s easy to innocently share dangerous details of your life on social media, but please keep in mind that you never know who’s watching and taking notes so please avoid these frequently done social media privacy mistakes and protect yourself!

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