A few weeks back, while in Vegas for a long weekend, I posted a random Facebook status update from my phone about landing safely and being ready to play some blackjack. Later, when my wife found out that I had done that, she kind of scolded me: "Why don't you just put a big sign on the front lawn that says, "Come on in, burglars! We're not home." I tried to tell her that she was being paranoid, but now I'm thinking she may have been right.
The burglary of an Arizona video editor is making headlines this week because he thinks that his Facebook and Twitter update habits may have led to it. He not only told his network of social media friends that he was going out of town but also shared some adventures of his road trip to Kansas City. While he was away, someone broke into his home and stole his video editing equipment. From an AP story:
Most people wouldn't leave a recording on a home answering machine telling callers they're on vacation for a week, and most people wouldn't let mail or newspapers pile up while they were away. But users of social media think nothing of posting real-time vacation photos on Facebook showing themselves on beaches hundreds of miles from home, or sending out automatic e-mail messages that say, "I'm out of the country for a week."
Of course, there's no way of knowing that it was someone who saw this information on Twitter or Facebook. It could have been someone who had been watching the neighborhood and found an opportunity to rob the house without interruption.
Still, it makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Next time I head out on a vacation, I pledge to not tell my Facebook friends and Twitter followers that I'm leaving. The last thing I need is to come hone to a ransacked house.