Can our online worlds bring our offline world into jeopardy?

Our lives seem to be concentrated on the online world at the moment. With the technology age booming, we are spreading our lives across different domains, social networks, and for some, even our work lives online.

Our lives seem to be concentrated on the online world at the moment. With the technology age booming, we are spreading our lives across different domains, social networks, and for some, even our work lives online. I have a Facebook profile and I work online. You see me every day; what I look like, where I live, where I study and who I know.

I, and many, who blog and "live" in a very public, insecure arena, to some extent take a great chance with our personal safety. We have our faces, knowledge and expertise spread around the web, from New York to Shanghai and between both poles. All it can take is someone to disagree with what we say, or dislike how we look.

We share so much information with others in forms we fill out and website registrations, all it takes is one person to become rogue and sell off our valuable information. Whether it be our bank details, our usernames or email addresses - these can be changed and recovered relatively easily. But with personal, physical elements to our lives such as our houses, our children and those we care about; are we taking these for granted?

To a colleague of mine, I said earlier (and apologise in advance for the strong language):

"If someone harmed my family as a result of something I'd written [online], I'd hunt the f**kers down with a knife gripped between my teeth, and wouldn't stop until they gasped their last breath of air."

Who wouldn't? But we can't always, as we don't always know who perpetrates these things. But with services such as Twitter and Facebook, it's quite easy to build up a picture of who people are, what people do and where people go. I have posted before when I will be somewhere to encourage others to attend. It would have been easy for someone to simply hate me for x reasons, pull out a knife and take a blow at me.

Serious or professional journalists often don't write things which deliberately spark anger towards them. In cases where journalists or people with high standing status within a community gets assaulted, a line is most certainly crossed. Technology journalism won't always get the responses the blogger wants, but hatred and unnecessary attacks get people nowhere.

Facebook is another example. To "facebook stalk" can result in one party changing their network to the same as the other party's network which they wish to look at, and can find all kinds of information out. It's creepy, scary, but very real. I as well as many have their Facebook locked down so only authorised people, my close friends, can see my profile.

Do we jeopardise our own safety and others who we know through what we put on the Internet? Are we putting ourselves at risk because we don't secure our Facebook or Twitter to randomers?

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this. Comments will be moderated carefully.

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