“Are you stalking?” Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard someone ask this question to another who is on Facebook. Social networking on the Internet is great! You can meet and keep in touch with people from all over the world, but there is a flaw. With posting your information up on the web it leaves you vulnerable for the real stalkers and creeps out there! Not only is the Internet used for social use, it can be used as a tool where obsessive stalkers dwell. Take a look at how to “Stalker Proof” your online network profile.
1. Edit Your Friend List: “Stalkers Welcome!” With the simple action of scrolling a person can learn your name, birth date, location, your best friends names, what you look like, where you went on vacation, or what your doing tonight. All of this information can be presented on the web. In other words, all of this information can be presented to ANYONE on the web. Take a glimpse at your friend list; I’m sure you have hundreds. Now an old family friend you grew up with or an old high school pal is fine. But do you have hundreds of those? Think about the people your allowing browsing your life daily!
2. Google You: Yes, Google yourself each day! This is an awesome and easy way to make sure your life is not posted up for the public to see. Google is a serious search engine, so if your somewhere on the net, Google has got you as well! You can even set up a Google Alert that will notify you anytime your name or phone number is mentioned in a blog or post or comment.
3. Research: Please do not just join any social networking group that is out there and catches your eye. For example, Craigslist is an online site where buying, renting, selling, and job searching all takes place. Thousands of posts hit this site everyday. Thousands of people are on this site everyday. Tens of thousands of eyes can see your post on this site everyday. Be smart! Use an e-mail address that does not give away your full name. Also, before contacting a person if they have listed their name or any information tending to who they may be, Google it! Check them out! You have no clue who this Joe Smoe character is, other then he is trying to sell his 1995 Dodge Durango.
4. You’ve Been Disconnected: Technology is getting crazier and crazier these days. Applications on the I Phone such as Foursquare and Yelp can tell your contacts where your exact location is. That’s pretty cool and it’s also pretty creepy. It’s okay to disconnect yourself from technology every now and then. My advice, don’t connect with people unless your looking for it. Leave it off!
5. Do not promote yourself: If you’re taking a look at your online profile and its shouts “Here I am” you might want to check yourself! The people who you want to find you, such as your friends and family know your name, they can search you, and they will find you. The “status” update is an option that is key to be smart about. “Leaving for London in two days” really means, “My house will be empty in two days, feel free to stop by burglars.” Make sure your not sharing TMI through your status updates! This mistake of the “Here I am”profiles draws in unwanted stalker attention. Keep it on the low.