I Have Been Robbed – Social Computing Paranoia or Valid Concern?

19 thoughts on “I Have Been Robbed – Social Computing Paranoia or Valid Concern?”

  1. Very sorry to hear about this my friend.
    I expect we’re going to see more of such stories as location based networks proliferate. I generally feel more comfortable saying where I’ve been as opposed to where I’m at. Unless I have something contextual to offer – like having a beer at Andy McAfees place with Luis 😉

  2. Wow! Sorry to hear about this invasion of your home and theft of personal goods. It really does make one stop and think about how much location and activity information is being exposed via social software. I think we all hate to clam up, but perhaps some degree of caution is in order. Just as we stop the mail and newspaper when going on vacation, we may need to be careful not to signal our absence through social channels.

    1. Precisely the advise I was going to offer. When I was blogging, and now with Facebook, I file post action reports only for this exact reason. You wouldn’t put a sign out front advertising your absence from home – but that’s what up to the moment tweets are. Still – sorry to hear some vile person took advantage in this way. Big L for them.

  3. Luis, I have been positing the same issues for some time now but few take heed or want to discuss it in the limelight from the stage.
    Afraid it might kill the social media mavens I guess.
    Sadly an open world leaves one open to the good and bad of it.
    If it helps I am happy to pass along any music from my collection you miss.
    I’ve been robbed before and it happens, but at least you and your family/friends were safe.

  4. This is of concern to many of us ‘declarative living’ types. I have similar mixed feelings about public vs private but am careful within my own comfort zone about posting about/from my residence. Plus I do employ guard dogs and my neighbors are armed to the teeth.

  5. Thanks Sameer for sharing the link in twitter.

    All makes sense to me Luis. That’s why you won’t see me tweeting “off to San Jose for the week” when my wife and kids are home alone. I’m less cautious with fb because I have my privacy settings locked down to a trusted circle. Still risky though.

  6. I had a similar experience many years ago. Pre-Web 2.0: My house was burglarized during the exact hour that I was speaking at a well-publicized conference out of town. I know this because my wife, thankfully, had just left the house at that time, and returned 45 minutes later to a ransacked apartment. Probably coincidence, but it does give one pause….

    Since then, as Harold suggested, I’ve preferred to talk about what I did vs what I’m doing or going to do whenever possible. Call me paranoid, but I view publicly posting items like future travel plans as fairly risky activity. You never know who’s watching, and there are clever and desperate people out there these days….

  7. Luis – So sorry to hear about this. Yes, you’re lucky it wasn’t worse, but there are very few feelings quite as distasteful as knowing someone was in your house, without you there . . . let alone that they have taken some of your things as well.

    A few years ago, when we adopted our oldest daughter, I started a blog to record our journey. It wasn’t long before I realized I really didn’t want to be sharing pictures of my child, my house, and other personal things that anyone could have access to. The only other choice was to limit it to merely those I allowed access to and, as I reflected on it, I decided it wasn’t really my choice to make. It’s her life I was putting out there.

    As far as tweeting, FB, and the like are concerned, I suspect a little discretion is necessary and we’ll just have to live with it. I hesitate to think how this will affect tweeting from conferences. I am hopeful I can sell the concept so my company will open up our firewall a bit more.

    I will, however, be a bit more careful now that you’ve brought it to my attention. Once again, very sorry you had to experience this. Not pleasant.


  8. One other thing – I found that overall, talking about the burglary back then was a negative experience. A few people were sympathetic, while others were overly judgmental, automatically assuming I had somehow brought this misfortune on myself. Perhaps it’s and American cultural thing or maybe I hang out with the wrong people :). I’d be interested to hear your overall reaction is so far, aside from the supportive comments here.

  9. Luis, sorry to hear you might have experienced the downside of my social computing paranoia. I hate to think the worst of people, but I know there are those that exploit the positive things in life. Your blog post makes this all the more real.

    Keith, regarding college students, most of my warnings tend to be about the Internet content that follows them to a job interview. This is certainly another scenario for everyone to consider.

  10. Oh Luis so sorry to hear you were robbed!

    @Mark Stevens I like the point you raise, that we are not only responsible for our own security but those around us as well. I wonder if many other men think about that or consult with their partners/family first to ask what they would prefer?

  11. @bill yes the interview background, always focusing on the bad but you can’t scrub it all away.
    this at least they can be better proactive, post after its done is a good route.
    Just a downside to some great progress.

  12. I’m sorry to hear about this. Precisely I don’t tweet about things I’m going to do outside of home nor if I’m actually out there. Mostly I post things that I already did.

    For the rest, I try to never disclose pictures with family or the house, nor mention any data that could be used for a bad purpose.

  13. I’m so sorry you were robbed. It’s less about the things taken and more about the feeling of violation is how I felt when I was robbed. I also think you’re right to consider how this impacts your privacy in social media. Much like we grew up not broadcasting to strangers our address, so do I also believe a certain amount of discretion online is also called for. Not everyone has bad intentions, but alas enough do. So whether it’s limiting my TripIt or Facebook updates to closest networks, or only connecting with people on LinkedIn whom I’ve actually met in person, to not always microblogging my current location (you won’t see me on those GPS-updated mobile apps auto-microblogging my coordinates anytime soon), I think it’s only safe to take some precautions in this Wild Wild West of social media.

  14. I’ve always wondered about why some people never thought twice about publishing their daily plans (especially related to travel). As many of the people who’ve responded above have mentioned, even I’ve generally considered sharing only past information when it comes to traveling. What happened to you is terrible and I hope you are able to recover from it soon and get all your “music” back in place. Take care…

  15. Luis, thanks for pointing me to this post. Very timely for me as I was getting more and more excited about Tripit, Yelp, Foursquare and how they are all syncing with LinkedIn, Facebook…I like the idea of friends finding out that I happen to be in the same city they are, but will definitely keep this post in mind as I move forward. Thanks!

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