Yes, they can co-exist but you do have to take care. I was really struggling with what to write for today’s article and I’ve currently got five minutes before I like to publish so it was really good to read Reading Upside Down’s article today and find it resonated enough to be able to write. Yes! She talks about social media and the need to take care of yourself on the internet, to always be aware of cyber safety.
Cyber safety is being aware of maintaining your safety at all times: don’t tell people where you live; turn off location services; don’t post photos and; one that people don’t seem to think about is don’t tell people you’re going away or leaving the house empty. 4 Square is a good one for disobeying the last one, when you log in you’re basically telling people you’re not home, all a burglar needs then is to know who you are and where you live, if you’ve been using location services and your real name then it’s a really easy thing for them to google you or look you up in the telephone directory and hey presto! they’re at your house.
I go one step further with this and I don’t tell people about my family, you might know I have DD1 and DD2 but not much more, you might know I have someone else in my life as I refer to this person as OH but you don’t know if they are male, female or something else and you don’t know if we’re married. Yes, there are a lot of people in my real life who know these details but everyone is very careful of my family’s privacy and cyber safety by not talking about them with me online but saving them for private conversations.
Yes, I know many people make full use of Facebook, Twitter and photo services such as Flickr and Instagram among many others and that has to be their decision. All of these social media services are fabulous for helping people keep in touch with their family members overseas, I do the same but most of my indepth conversations with them are kept private. I always hope the websites are able to keep their promises of safety and security and not open up private conversations to the public, sometimes they stuff up but most times they’re pretty good.
One of the other things Reading Upside Down talks about is meeting up with friends from social media in real life situations. I’ve done this so many times I’ve lost count. I’ve been meeting up with friends I’ve met on a number of different internet sites since 2001 when I went to Europe. I am always very careful with the first few meetings as I remember that old adage ‘on the internet no-one knows you’re a dog’, you can see a photo they’ve used as their avatar but it could easily be someone else, I could quite easily use a photo of the beautiful and talented Tara Moss and you wouldn’t know until you met me. Those first few times until I’m certain the real person is the same as the internet person and is safe I meet them in public places, sometimes with a friend but generally by myself. It is risky but we meet in restaurants, in busy streets outside specific shops (bookshops or cafés generally, I’m sure there’s a correlation there) and we get to know each other. If I think they’re dodgy I won’t meet them again and the only information I give them is my phone number, the one I publish on my website. People look at me weirdly when I tell them I have my phone number on my website, but it’s my mobile number and I never give out my home number anymore, another example of being aware of cyber safety.