Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The perils of progress

Geo-location: it's the next big thing in social networking. Not only do you chat with your friends over the internet, location-aware services like Foursquare and Gowalla also let them know where you are, where you've been, and turns bopping around to your favorite bars and restaurants into a kind of social networking game.

But some locals have been noticing a drawback to broadcasting your location over the internet: it's...broadcasting your location over the internet. People have been tweeting about www.pleaserobme.com, a site that makes just this point by aggregating Foursquare and Twitter status updates, then broadcasting real-time alerts about which homeowners aren't home. In the name of highlighting online privacy perils, they've scared everybody half to death. (One tip I've heard to get around it: don't let your Foursquare status updates automatically go into your Twitter stream).

Anybody out there hear of any situations locally where strangers have used someone's Foursquare status update to try and take advantage of them? Direct message me on Twitter or Facebook (these are private channels), or just shoot me an e-mail.

And if you know of good tips to keep everybody safe, share away!


Donavon said...

Don't share your check-ins on Twitter. If you want to share your check-ins, do so only on Facebook.

For increased privacy, setup a custom friend list on Facebook and include friends you do not want to see check-ins for and block their access to your wall (where FourSquare checkins are posted).

Algernon said...


That is just shy of approaching insanity.

I have a cell and constantly fight the urge to upgrade to a gps/internet/email capable device and plan. But reality, common sense and a wish to remain as organic as possible, if you will, prevails.

What is the price of the "disconnect" that comes with being so connected?

Alvin Toffler was talking about you.

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