Prepare yourself for an all-time level of ridiculousness: A security firm in the UK has launched a service where it posts virtual updates for their clients while they are away on vacation. The worst (but most expected) part? They charge for this. Yes, real money. Dinero. To post to your Facebook for you!
The point? The security firm's director says that "putting up a Facebook posting of photographs on a beach to 300-400 'friends' is like leaving an advert on your door to a burglar telling him when you will be out."
Sure, he's right. But the Nancy Drew in me sees two problems here: 1. Who is that addicted to social media that they would pay someone else to update their status? and 2. Do you have "friends" on Facebook that you'd expect burglarizing your home?
There are ways to be smart about social media while traveling, people. Here's a hint: You don't need to pay someone else to be smart for you.
Most of us are so worried about stopping the mail and locking our windows that we forget one of the biggest access points to our everyday lives: The Internet. Sure, the point of this UK-based company posting pre-approved status messages is so that it seems you're still actively up and around your local abode, but really -- there's just no point.
Thus I present you with what you should and shouldn't do, in terms of social media, during your vacation:
What you should do:
- Try your hardest to avoid posting all about your upcoming vacation on Facebook, Twitter, and the like. We understand that you're excited about "OMG VEGAS!!!!", but is that one bragging status update worth possibly putting your home at risk?
- Post about it when you're back! We want to see the pictures. Trust me, they're a nice break from the work day (Boss: Read that as I'm always working). But it's just better to stay on the safe side, no?
What you shouldn't do:
- Have your profile 100 percent public, to begin with. You never know who is out there. Make sure you're friending people you actually know, and not just some random you met once at a bar during a night out with the gals, never to speak to again.
- Continuously post pictures of yourself during your vacation. We understand that "THE WATER IS GORGEOUS!" and "I never wanna leave Hawaii" tagged sunset photos are picturesque. But don't be a dimwit because the second you stop posting is the second potential burglars (that you, ahem, shouldn't be "friends" with anyway) know you're on your way home.
Now -- if you're still a little freaked out about the whole vacation/going ghost from social media combination, then you can schedule updates yourself using one of the many social media plug-ins. My top suggestions? Check out HootSuite or CoTweet, both clients that enable the user to schedule posts weeks (and even months!) in advance.
Trust me, there's no need to be a worrywart on your vacay! Unplug, enjoy yourself, and have a daiquiri or two for me please, while you're at it.
Do you take any social media precautions when heading off for vacation?