April 15, 2010

Why I No Longer Do Real-Time Trip Updates

I am nowhere on Foursquare. I don't update my location anymore. 

Why? One of our conventional wisdoms RE Social Media is that you should bring people along with you as you travel for business or pleasure.  Sure, it's an experience, but at what cost? 

If you are single, live in an apartment and posses few items of value -- sure, advertise to the bad guys that you aren't home!  If you, like I do, have a family and some stuff you don't want to lose, then don't tell the world when you are out of town for extended periods. 

It is easier than you think for ANYONE to figure out where you live. You would  be surprised how many databases your address is sitting in, unprotected from bad guys that track these things.  And they do. A recent article on Rob Me makes some startling points. A video editor in Arizona was robbed after he posted his out-of-town-ness on (A seemingly harmless update, "Just landed safely on my trip.")

Some insurance carriers are already planning to raise their rates on blabby social media users (see article).  It's not good business for them to subsidize your need for more followers on Twitter or Facebook. 

You can still share your trips with us, when you get home.  I am HOME now, back from a trip to Bogota Colombia.  Yesterday, I saw this kid doing a great foot-juggling routine at a trade show (Video: Colombian Football Juggler).  I shot it on my flip and could have posted it from the Admiral's Club a few hours later.  But I didn't.  As with any new media form, we'll refine how we use it.  You don't post silly videos of yourself partying anymore, now do you?  Drop the need to report real-time on where you are or you'll end up getting desert served to you by some follower that waits for you to advertise that you are "having dinner in Des Moines at Lucy's.'  Think before you post/update. 

PS - For those of who that travel a lot, you should protect your privacy.  Never post a mailing address, a cell phone number on any profile.  Be careful about using your home address as a shipping address with websites you aren't familiar with.  If you EVER buy a domain name, pay the extra money to keep your address private.  You can't be too careful. 

Posted at 3:16 PM in Social Media  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)



Harold Wigginbottom learned the lesson the hard way


I have a friend who always posts from Foursquare "after" he leaves the venue. I thought he was antisocial or paranoid, but the more we consider the consequences, the policy has merit.

i'm less concerned by telling friends on Foursquare that I'm at Dunkin Donuts than in the Denver airport, but the potential for harm is the same.

I'm pondering the impact of all of this on location based marketing. I haven't seen to date research that says consumers want to be pinged when they are near a store, unless they request it. Add the privacy risk in the mix and it is an interesting topic.


Thank you! I have been telling people this for 2 years! Telling people you aren't home isn't very smart.


Thank you for talking about this! I am pretty liberal about sharing my life but I do draw the line at advertising whether I'm at home or not. It scares me having that information out there--and it's my family I care about, not the "please rob me" thing. There are some weird people out there, you have to be somewhat careful.

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