Beware of the Vacation Overshare


So you are headed to the Bahamas next week and you want to make sure everyone knows how much fun you are having. However, you may want to think twice before posting that picture of you relaxing in the sun on a white sand beach.  There are a few reasons you may want to refrain from immediately posting every wondrous moment of your hard-earned vacation.

First, you should be aware that your phone or camera is likely Geotagging your pictures. Geotagging is the process in which your digital device tags, or attaches information to, the picture with the geographic location of where you were when the picture was taken. While this technology can be helpful, it can also invade your privacy and even put you at danger. Posting a picture that has been geotagged can be the equivalent of broadcasting your exact location to whoever views it.  So think twice before you tweet a picture of you getting a massage poolside at the resort you are staying in. You can protect yourself from most Geotagging dangers by turning off the Geolocation function within your digital device.  However, some mobile applications will override the device or ask that you grant them permission to obtain Geotagging information which may then be posted online.

The status update was created to announce to the world about your current status in life.  While updating your status on social networks can help you connect with friends and be a wonderful way to express yourself, it can also be incredibly dangerous to your privacy.  This is especially true while traveling. Do you personally know every single person who is your Facebook friend, follows you on Twitter or reads your blog? The answer is no and chances are even if you did, there are a few you wouldn’t want to know that your house would be empty for the next week.  However, by updating your status to, “Off to St. Thomas!!! See you in two weeks!!!” that is exactly what you are doing. Avoid announcing to the world that your house will empty for any amount of time, let alone an extended period.

The Internet is a great way to connect with people you care about and share your interests.  There a ton of new travel applications that can help you organize your trips, share your plans and connect with other people during your adventures.  At the same time, it is important to consider privacy and safety when exploring these new opportunities to connect. Realize that not everyone has the same interest in mind when they see that you will be out of the country or attending a convention.

The bottom line is that social networking is a wonderful way to connect and using it to enhance your vacation experience can be incredibly rewarding.  Just be sure you think twice before posting or sharing your travel information to protect your privacy and your well being.

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Nikki Junker

Nikki Junker is Social Media Coordinator and Victim Advisor at The Identity Theft Resource Center. She specializes in Identity Theft on social networks and smartphones. She enjoys working one on one with victims of identity theft as well as researching and writing about preventative measures for consumers.

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