Social media runs our lives…

I remember the days when Facebook was only for college students. You had to have a university email at that time to even sign up for it – the community was extremely small.

Then it slowly started to spread – before long all my friends had signed up, then my cousins got it, and within a year or two my parents and even grandparents were “liking” my posts.

The phenomenon spread much faster than I would have ever imagined.

It’s hard to believe I actually get paid to write blogs for social media sites, post status updates on Facebook and upload videos to YouTube. As much as I love my job, it’s also very scary to think about the information that others can gain through the use of social media.

I’m fortunate in my position – that I’m exposed to all the threats and know what precautions to take. But others, as I browse through their Facebook pages and their family member’s Facebook pages – either aren’t fortunate enough to know what precautions they should be taking, or don’t care to take them.

When was the last time you checked your security settings? When was the last time you looked at your profile from the eyes of someone you aren’t Facebook friends with?

Image from http://airforcelive.dodlive.mil

Image from http://airforcelive.dodlive.mil

I thought it would be fun to just start searching people on base. I won’t share the results I found, but I will say that there are many of you who should probably look at your security settings or look at the security settings of your loved ones. Some of the profile pages I came across were locked down nicely – others I could narrow down where you live, your phone number, how many kids you have, when the last time you purchased a new car was, etc. Our lives have become such common knowledge to the public that we forget about the dangers out there.

Should we live in fear? Absolutely not – I’d be the first to say that wouldn’t make sense (and I’d be out of a job!). I’m just asking you to be careful – don’t make yourself a target. Don’t post your regular runs and include a map of your route, don’t tell the entire world when you plan to go on vacation and what resort you’re going to go to, don’t link your phone number or address to your profile, etc. Sometimes it’s fun to just keep the details to yourself and let others do the guessing.

Now that I’ve rambled for far too long – I’d really appreciate it if you took another 15 minutes out of your day and watched the following video. Take time to protect yourself and your family members.

About Tech. Sgt. Andrea F. Rhode

Tech. Sgt. Andrea F. Rhode is a photojournalist for the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wisconsin.