First there was the Greatest Generation. Then came the Baby Boomers, followed by Generation X. Now, there’s the Millennial Generation, or as I like to call them, the Narcissistic Numskulls. I hate to admit it, but I’m 25 and by default fall into the latter group.
As the Union Leader in New Hampshire reported last week, three thieves used Facebook as their device for finding unoccupied houses. Their methods were simple, thanks to the Narcissistic Numskulls, who might as well have provided the thieves with keys to their homes.
It’s believed that the thieves were using Facebook to figure out when their victims would not be home. It wasn’t difficult, since the victims would publicly post their whereabouts on Facebook Places. Facebook tracks a person’s every move because evidently it’s important that our friends know where we are and what we’re doing every second of every day.
The three thieves had quite the venture going: they had piled up $100,000 to $200,000 worth of stolen goods in a storage unit.
This should be a lesson for the Narcissistic Numskulls. I know it’s difficult to not share every detail of life with the world, but there are some benefits to being a private person.
Here are some tips:
- Facebook’s privacy settings are always changing, but you should keep up to date with what Facebook is doing and make it so only your friends can see your data. Do not post your phone number or your physical address, and try to keep your general whereabouts to yourself. If you want a friend to join you at Starbucks, hey, how about calling the friend instead of tweeting, “OMG, the latte at SB is terrif I’m lonely need a bff.”
- Do not use Facebook places. Come on people, what is the benefit of this application other than letting stalkers and thieves know when and where to murder or rob you?
- If you’re on *FourSquare, try to keep your profile as private as possible and do not link it with your Twitter and Facebook accounts. You can hide your check-ins so people cannot track your every move. Again, it’s okay if you’re not checking in with the world. Some living, breathing human beings are even un-Google-able, can you imagine?
- As for Twitter. Like other social sites, I realize it can be used as a tool, as my twitter-happy boss pointed out in her 267-part series. But use it just as that, a tool. It shouldn’t be a public diary, for sharing everything from whether you just went No. 1 or No. 2 to what you consumed beforehand. (e.g. “Taco Bell was a bad choice!”)
*I do not use FourSquare, but I can see the benefit. As my colleague Tom wrote this week, you get discounts by using the social platform, and it’s a good marketing tool for businesses.
For the purposes of full disclosure (since that’s what my generation is all about), I am on Facebook and LinkedIn, and I’m okay with certain people (my friends and business connections) knowing a limited amount of information about me. But I do try to keep it as private as possible and have never posted a status update.
If I want someone to know where I’m going, I use one of those prehistoric cellular devices and I try to never check in with thieves.
My truck was stolen once when I was sleeping. Unfortunately, I never signed the truck up for Facebook Places.