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Don't Post Vacation Plans on Twitter

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Here's why.

Woman using computer

Lori Getz: Did you hear about the Arizona man who tweeted about being on vacation -- then came home to find his house had been robbed? Well, I did, and it started me thinking about how publicly we live our lives, and questioning whether or not it's a dangerous lifestyle.

So I did some investigating. I pulled up Twitter's search engine and typed "vacation." Simple enough. I quickly learned that on the day of my search, six people were either traveling to or traveling back from vacation. I then Googled a few of them and actually found two home addresses linked to the users on vacation. Could it be that easy? Yep!

Now for those of you who are concerned that I am giving the thieves ideas, it's too late. These thieves are not even cloaked in black ski masks hiding in the dark shadows. They are just hanging out online in places where people are talking about their "status."

Teenagers use Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace as their social calendars and keep their friends up to date about where they are going and what they are doing at all times. It's pretty voyeuristic, but it is reality. We need to mention to them that it is NOT a good idea to post private information in their status bars.

Now, do I fault Twitter for the man in Arizona's trouble? Of course not! That would be like being upset at my house if I decided to post a note on the front door saying I'm gone for the week, and then come home to find the place was ransacked.

Twitter is a powerful tool, and it has been instrumental in changing how we disseminate information -- worthy information. In fact, when the attacks in Mumbai occurred, you could follow it live on Twitter with real-time updates from people experiencing the event. (Not to mention the recent Iran protests, where Twitter was instrumental in not only keeping Iranians informed, but updating U.S. media.) PR firms and marketing gurus love their ability to send out tweets about the latest update or event. In fact, I'll be sending out a tweet of my own when this article is published.

It's not that we need to stop using this social medium, we just need to be thoughtful about how we use it. None of this has to be dangerous. We just need to be well informed of the risks in order to make the best decision possible. Me, personally, I think I'll keep the vacation information off the 'net, just to be safe!


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66 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous July 14, 2009, 11:29 AM

Why would anyone be dumb enough to post that?

Pamala July 14, 2009, 11:52 AM

What’s important is if you do post that you’re on vacation, you don’t post that all in your household are with you.

It’s important that also protect your home anyhow. You have to make sure someone is visiting your home, maybe turning on a light (not the same one). I often leave the TV on. Umm also don’t let the mail pile up or newspapers.

Lynette July 14, 2009, 12:59 PM

A young and stupid me on answering machine: “Hi, this is Lynette. I’ll be in Kentucky for the week but leave a message and I’ll get back with you when I return.”

Scene as I opened my front room door: Brand new one week old computer—gone.

Rule #1: Get renters/homeowner’s insurance
Rule #2: Don’t ever ever ever ever ever tell someone you’re going out of town or that you’re not at home.
Rule #3: EVER.

Karen July 14, 2009, 6:26 PM

Anonymous: Your comment goes hand in hand with my first thought which was “Well, DUH!” This tweeter got what he deserved for thinking so highly of himself that he deemed it necessary to share his vacation adventures with the world. Sheesh. Just send your friends a postcard and show them the pictures when you get home.

RachelAZ July 14, 2009, 10:36 PM

Or…how about you make your stuff private and only your friends can see it! Quit adding people you don’t really know and keep your stuff PRIVATE!!! There’s a “duh” moment for ya!

nothing wrong with info July 15, 2009, 7:07 PM

I don’t see anything wrong with posting the fact that you are going on vacation. If your profile is only private to your friends I highly doubt they will rob you. It could simply be your neighbor next door to you that sees you packing up and takes advantage.

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chase internet banking October 18, 2010, 11:17 AM

So not really on the same topic as your post, but I found this today and I just can’t resist sharing. Mrs. Agathe’s dishwasher quit working so she called a repairman. Since she had to go to work the next day, she told him, “I’ll leave the key under the mat. Fix the dishwasher, leave the bill on the counter, and I’ll mail you the check. Oh, and by the way…don’t worry about my Doberman. He won’t bother you. But, whatever you do, do NOT under ANY circumstances talk to my parrot!” When the repairman arrived at Mrs. Agathe’s apartment the next day, he discovered the biggest and meanest looking Doberman he had ever seen. But just as she had said, the dog simply laid there on the carpet, watching the repairman go about his business. However, the whole time the parrot drove him nuts with his incessant cursing, yelling and name-calling. Finally the repairman couldn’t contain himself any longer and yelled, “Shut up, you stupid ugly bird!” To which the parrot replied, “Get him, Spike!”

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