Posted by Ray Majoran
I remember the first time that I signed up to use Facebook, I thought to myself, “Do I really want people knowing what I’m doing all the time?” After getting over my hesitation, I decided that it was worth the shot; I have been a Facebook user ever since. One of the reasons that I enjoy Facebook is that I can control who sees what – status updates, photos, wall posts, etc. Even so, I am typically very careful what I say and what I post, remembering that everything I say is “on record”.
Then there’s Twitter, another popular tool used by many people and organizations throughout the world. Twitter is a simple way to keep people up-to-date with all of life’s happenings. On the Twitter.com front page, they define their site as the answer to one simple question: “What are you doing?” Most people that use Twitter allow anyone to “follow them” (their status updates), whereas Facebook is reserved for “friends” (although many would question how many of your Facebook friends are actually your “real friends”) :).
I’ll cut to the point. Most of us agree that there are great reasons to use social media tools like Twitter and Facebook (especially from a “ministry/business marketing front”), but do we ever consider the personal dangers of using such tools to let people know what we’re doing? What if someone was waiting for us to leave our house so that they could rob it? What if someone was following us on Twitter so that they could stalk us? What if someone was watching you upload pictures of your children that you didn’t want them to see?
ZdNet wrote a post earlier today entitled “Are Tweets and Facebook updates telling burglars when to strike?” It’s a great question and worth the read!
At the end of the day, I recognize that God is control and that we should not live in fear or worry (Luke 12:22-24). I also believe that we have a responsibility to use common sense. If you’ve ever been on an overseas mission trip to a second/third world country, you would probably agree that the last thing you want to do when you get off the plane is start flashing around money or giving people opportunities to take advantage of you.
In the same way, the next time you login to Facebook or Twitter I would simply challenge you to consider the potential ramifications of your post. “Does what I’m posting have the potential to cause me/my organization harm?” If the answer to that question is, “Yes”, then you may want to take a step back and reconsider what you say.