I wasn’t really sure whether it would be a good idea, or not, to put together this blog post. But I thought I needed to reflect some more on something that happened to me a couple of days ago; and here I am… I have been robbed.
Last weekend, on Saturday late afternoon (Between 5 PM and 7 PM, approximately) someone broke into my house and stole a few things. It must have been rather quick, or sloppy, or the thief got "interrupted", because the damage could have been a lot worse than what it was eventually. So far I am "only" missing my Nokia N95 (Over two and a half years old and which I will thoroughly miss!), my 32 GB iPod Touch (Over a year old & with my entire music collection in it! Ouch!) and an iPod Classic (Nearly 4 years old & one of the backups I had for that music collection. Still got another one though! Phew!). The rest seems to be all there. Intact.
However, while I have been putting together some more security measures in place, I just couldn’t help thinking quite a bit about a recent article that my fellow IBM colleague Bill Sweeney put together under the title "Social Media paranoia or valid concern?". It is a rather interesting, short and incredibly provocative article that comes to question how much information we should actually be sharing about our own private lives, and surroundings!, in the various social software tools available out there.
Bill brings in some very valid points, specially when you come to think about the fact that while the thief was "busy" I was just enjoying a "stunning long walk along one of my favourite places on the very south of the island" and "chilling out while watching the sun set … Priceless!". Now, if you have been following me for a while in various social software tools, you would realise how I don’t get to share plenty of stuff that relates to my private life. A long while ago I decided that some things should remain private, specially such personal matters that relate to me and those around me. And only those.
But, funny enough, the first time that I decided to share a couple of tweets on something I was doing over the course of the weekend, someone "decides" to break into my flat and take away a few things. Coincidence? Pure luck? Actually, bad luck? Paranoia? I’m not sure, but it surely makes you think about things, don’t you think?
Around the area where I live there doesn’t seem to be many more people tweeting away. Perhaps one or two other folks and that’s about it! So I guess that makes all of us a potential target. Yes, I live in a very small village, where most people know one another, where there are always people around, where plenty of things don’t go by unnoticed, yet for that two hour period no one showed up, no one noticed, except the wrong person.
It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? I tend to think that it was actually bad luck and it was just pure coincidence that I was out of the house while the incident took place. However, I still think that Bill puts it very nicely under this particular quote:
"The more information about me that I aggregate and expose on the Internet, the more someone could potentially identify my physical address and perhaps take advantage of real time information that I present on the web"
That’s why from here onwards, I’m going to become a little bit more protective of what I would consider "private updates" and refrain myself a little bit from sharing them across. I’m not sure what price I would be paying in the long run for a patchy online persona in the various social software tools that I use on a regular basis, but somehow I just hope that all of my connections, relationships, friendships, etc. etc. would understand my position and adjust accordingly. I know it may be a tough thing to do, but what would you do? How far do you go in sharing those "private updates" across various different social networks? And, most importantly, would your relationship with your various connections change that much should they decide to protect some more their own private updates? What do you think?
Privacy and security have always been two very key, and important, issues to address in the world of social computing (Just as much as for many other areas!), that we probably haven’t figured them out just yet, but perhaps we should give them plenty more relevance than whatever they have been having in the past. Like I said, I don’t think it’s paranoia, maybe a slight concern, but I tend to think that it’s more along the lines of insisting on keeping some things private. Regardless of that impact it may cause. Because, after all, who wants to know all of my moves and updates? Probably, not the right people. I am sure.
(By the way, for those folks who were asking over the last couple of days, I am fine. Like I said, the thief didn’t make as much damage as it could have been, probably because the individual was in a hurry or something unexpected came up; and since this is not the first, nor the second time (And, certainly, not the last one) that I have been robbed in my life I suppose that the psychological and mental damages are not as devastating anymore as the first time your privacy and your own home get invaded. Nobody would ever get used to it, I am certain, but the initial impact hasn’t been the same. Wish things would have been different though)
Tags: Thieves, Robbery, N95, Nokia, iPod Touch, iPod Classic, Damages, Impact, IBM, Bill Sweeney, Twitter, Paranoia, Concerns, Security, Privacy, Protection, Data Protection, Enterprise 2.0, Social Software, Social Networking, Social Computing, Social Media, Networking, Social Networks, Connections, Relationships