To Share, or Not To Share? A VERY Important Question.

Last week was a bit of a slow post week for me. You know weeks when nothing seems to happen on the normal schedule? That was last week. I’ve found that Monday is an important day. If Monday doesn’t go right, the rest of the week just seems crooked some how.

Anyways, that’s neither here nor there. On to the real topic: I had a conversation at work last week about the Wired writer that got hacked. I’m guessing most people have heard the story already, but if you haven’t you  can read the interview here.

The gist of it was that by using flaws in Amazon and Apple’s security system hackers were able to take control of the user’s account, remote wipe all his devices, and the real goal – take control of his twitter account. What’s scary is that you only need a billing address and partial credit card number to get a temporary password out of Apple. But what’s almost equally scary is how many security questions can be answered, simply by logging on to Facebook and stalking someone.

Now the morning that we had the conversation about this, was also the morning that I began my brand new exercise routine. (This links back, I promise). I’m running about 2 miles pretty consistently, but I want to work my way up to a 5K, and I want to increase my speed while I work on endurance. To this end I found a program that works you up from 1 mile to 3 miles over the course of 12 weeks.

Since I’m running specific distances now, I decided to use mapmyrun.com, which is a tool I’ve used many times before. Imagine my disgruntlement when I realized they now want you to sign-up or sign-in before you can map out a run path. I was in a rush so I took the easy route and linked it to Facebook for easy access.

After getting into the new and improved mapmyrun interface, I was actually less annoyed. They’ve made it easier to use and added a lot of tools, like a scheduling tool, a weight check tool, dietary tools, timing, etc to help you keep track of your progress. I’m always an in for a penny, in for a pound kind of person, so I figured I was already signed up and might as well take advantage of the tracking abilities of the program.

So I ran my first mile, logged the run and went to work where we had this whole conversation on social media and how compromising it can be if you’re not careful.

Then I got home that night and realized that mapmyrun had automatically posted the distance, time, and route I ran to Facebook. I’m not OK with this on so many levels.

  1. It’s obnoxious to spam friends, family and acquaintances with your exercise milestones. As a matter of fact I posted a mashable article on how obnoxious it is just the day before!
  2. On a more concerning note – Is this really information that needs to be public??

Take someone exactly like me. I run on a schedule, the same 2-3 days a week. I run at the same time every day. I will be running a very similar route every week, just adding or subtracting legs of the run based on the distance I should be going.

Why on earth would I want all that to be public knowledge? I feel safe enough saying it here, but I haven’t mentioned where my route is (hint: it is on Oahu somewhere), what days of the week I’m running, or what time I tend to go at… but I don’t want those details public. Especially not on Facebook. I love Facebook as much as the next 20-something year-old, but I am fully aware of their privacy issues. Facebook has a nasty habit of erasing all settings and preferences during their updates, and making private information public.

Think about all the bad things that could happen if the wrong person decides to target you and suddenly knows where you spend an hour of your day 3 or 4 days a week! Best case scenario is someone breaks into your apartment. Worse case scenario can get a whole lot worse, especially if you’re not aware and careful.

So this is a long and roundabout way of saying, “Be aware.” Know what sites are posting to your Facebook and Twitter. Know how much information they’re posting. And recognize when that information is dangerous. Social media is a great tool for sharing, but there are some things that just shouldn’t be shared. Your location, especially when it’s a daily habit, is more often then not one of those things!

-Bridget

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