How a Single Professional Female Practices Safe Social Media

By: Guest | July 26, 2011 | 

We are happy to introduce our very own Crister DelaCruz in today’s guest post.

I’m known amongst my friends as the one who had a digital life even before Facebook (or MySpace) became popular. They think I’m an online “media techie” which cracks me up. I’m far from it, but I see where they might think that.

I’m the one who “posts a lot on Facebook,” “does the Twitter thing,” and checks-in everywhere I go. I even got involved in online dating way before it was common.

Naturally, I get a lot of questions about privacy concerns. And my response is always, “It’s not the platform that’s revealing, it’s your use of it.”

My digital life began when I moved from Southern California to Napa Valley. Not knowing a single person, a friend convinced me to join I quickly learned how to balance transparency without giving up my privacy and my safety.

Thanks to that experience, I’ve been able to embrace social media with minimal fear of loss of privacy. Is it a real concern? Of course it is – I’m a single independent woman living in a busy metropolitan city (I live in Chicago now). I’ve been stalked before, and know the frustration (and relief) involved in filing a restraining order.

Still, I don’t believe in avoiding online social platforms because of it. If anything, I appreciate its functionality for my convenience and safety. I’ve learned to be smart in my practices, and have established some basic guidelines on the various platforms.

Online dating

I’m a fan –I’m a HUGE fan actually. It’s how I met “D,” my boyfriend.

  • I put my potential dates through the wringer and “D” jokes that the only basic information I didn’t have about him before our first date was his social security number (I eventually got that, for a background check … but that’s another story).
  • Of course I Google… wouldn’t you?
  • We’ll have a phone call to gather some basic information and to see if we have “conversation chemistry.” Afterwards,  I have at the very least: A phone number, his full name (including middle), place of work, neighborhood he lives in, parents names, siblings, and hometown.
  • If we decide to meet for a date, I let him know that I will be providing his information to three of my friends/family members. “If I were your sister, would you want to her to be as careful?”
  • If they don’t understand my need for safety, then I have my answer about any future with them.

Foursquare or Google Places

I love getting points and specials, but I especially like people knowing where I am. I feel safer that way.

  • I’m only friends with people I trust and know personally.
  • I check into cabs. After all, some of those cabbies are crazy and I don’t want to disappear without my online community knowing that Cab #### was where I last was.
  • When I’m navigating the city alone in unfamiliar places, I check in – but just as I’m leaving or have already left.
  • At the end of the day, I check in at home just so people know I’m back safely.


Just as recently as last week, my friend Chanthana posted on Facebook about being approached by a total stranger on the “L” platform (I assumed because she was recognized through a recent video she did for a local non-profit about her love of running).  Smart girl!

  • I’m Facebook friends with two types of people: 1) Those I know personally 2) Those I’ve never met face-to-face but with whom I have interacted online (and we have A LOT of mutual friends I respect).
  • If someone is going to have any insight into my life, you bet I’ve looked through their photo albums, know spouse’s/kids’/dog’s names, and know their hobbies.
  • I check my privacy settings regularly.
  • I interact with my friends, let them know what I’m up to, and see what they’re up to.

How do you balance your online transparency and privacy?

Crister DelaCruz vice president at Arment Dietrich and is responsible for developing/nurturing new client relationships (yes, we are taking new clients!). She has 15 years experience in healthcare PR but gets queasy at the sight of blood, has an architecture degree but has never practiced, loves clothes but hates shopping. She is also bummed that she and Gini can’t share shoes.

  • kaitlinmaud

    @AdmanEKim I liked the part about checking in to cabs, but you couldn’t get me to try online dating, I don’t care how “safe” it is

  • AdmanEKim

    @kaitlinmaud Cabs are smart, right? NEVER thought of that, but I like. I did match and met some cool people. Never had a dangerous exp ^_^;;

  • kaitlinmaud

    @AdmanEKim well duhhhh you’re a guy!! Haha 😉

  • AdmanEKim

    @kaitlinmaud #FemaleMisogynist

  • gyrlbanket

    Hey Crister,

    I use my FB and Twitter the same way. It wasn’t until meeting you that I decided to unprotect my tweets and it’s been fine. I do have to watch what I share, but that’s not as difficult as some might think; it just takes a little common sense. I definitely do not believe in avoiding social platforms due to fear. We have to embrace these new communication tools and learn to navigate them safely like we have to do everything in life. Thanks for giving us some tips on how to make that happen.

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @gyrlbanket Absolutely. I love social media so much that I just want everyone to get involved with it – whether for business or personal reasons. As I mentioned, in my circle of ‘non-SM friends’, their biggest fear that comes from truly engaging is that of privacy loss. I’m converting them one at a time 🙂

  • CristerDelacruz

    @kaitlinmaud Online dating is simply a way to meet people. If someone does it, they should be as safe as possible. @AdmanEKim

  • CristerDelacruz

    @AdmanEKim A male friend (same one recommended was stalked by one of his dates, so it goes both ways. @katilinmaud

  • kaitlinmaud

    @CristerDelacruz @AdmanEKim No judgement, Crister, it’s just not within my comfort zone! Shouldn’t we all do what’s comfortable for us?

  • kaitlinmaud

    @CristerDelacruz @AdmanEKim Plus, I’m married, so I’m not really missing out on anything by not trying online dating 😉

  • CristerDelacruz

    @kaitlinmaud Absolutely! It’s all about being comfortable. Haha, yeah being married puts a kabbosh on that (well, sadly for some it doesn’t)

  • kaitlinmaud

    @CristerDelacruz Ha!! Yes, I think could warrant its own blog post….

  • CristerDelacruz

    @kaitlinmaud I’ve heard of it, never looked. Concept just so degrading to marriages. Sad.

  • AdmanEKim

    @CristerDelacruz i’ve heard of many who join Match just to meet ppl in a new city. I think it’s def mainstream enough now. @kaitlinmaud

  • CristerDelacruz

    @admanekim @kaitlinmaud That’s why I joined in N.CA. But gotta be up-front of intentions, right?

  • kaitlinmaud

    @AdmanEKim In my own defense I started dating my husband 4 yrs ago when I was only 21! I definitely missed out on online dating all together

  • AdmanEKim

    @kaitlinmaud Ha! You’re better off IMHO. I’m now dating @anapplesweet without the need for online dating, and very happy for it!

  • Crister, thank you for these fantastic tips, particularly with Facebook. A lot of women I know worry over accepting friend requests, particularly from people they know only online — they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but they also don’t want to compromise their own safety. I’ll be passing this article on to them!

  • jbbreck

    Thanks Crister, I’m glad you addressed the topic! I’ve always had privacy hesitations about social media and refused to sign-up for FB until my boss, kritch, made it a performance goal in my annual review, ha! It’s ok, I needed the push and have a great appreciation for social media from a business perspective! On a personal level, I’m still pretty low key, but love your suggestion about checking into cabs. I’ll absolutely use it!

  • ginidietrich

    @JustInTheSouth Hi

  • Nothing but women commenting here so far…so I’ll weigh in. Great insights, Crister. There are also a number of online sources, etc. where you can pay for some background checks and other information. I’ve had to do this recently as the result of the loss of a friendship and some unusual behavior including phone calls from dead numbers and strange texts, etc. All at a time when this was really the last thing I needed. The information I was able to find helped put an end to this odd behavior.

    I love how you use checking in as a safety measure, kind of like leaving a bread crumb trail, when so many other avoid checking in because they believe it compromises your safety. Smart thinking.

    Now we know who the REAL brains behind Arment Dietrich is!

  • redinthecity

    @ginidietrich @cristerdelacruz Nice post on online safety! Now I’m also wondering what size shoes Gini wears…

  • JustInTheSouth

    @ginidietrich Hi

  • C_Pappas

    @ginidietrich Did I tell you I finished ‘The Help’ in 5 days?! SO FRICKIN GOOD!!!!

  • ginidietrich

    @redinthecity I actually think @cristerdelacruz and I COULD share. I wear a 5.5

  • ginidietrich

    @C_Pappas Wasn’t it good?! Have you read Memory Keeper’s Daughter?

  • ginidietrich

    @JustInTheSouth Hola

  • C_Pappas

    @ginidietrich No but I have ‘The Hunger Games’ up next and I hope you finish it so we can chat!

  • JustInTheSouth

    @ginidietrich just hung out with one of your friends!

  • ginidietrich

    @JustInTheSouth I’m so jealous

  • ginidietrich

    @C_Pappas OK. I’ll finish that then

  • CristerDelacruz

    @ginidietrich @redinthecity *sigh*…. I’m a 4

  • ginidietrich

    @AbbieF Is it September yet?

  • JustInTheSouth

    @ginidietrich yeah…. doing ok?

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @annedreshfield Thank you for your comments. I’m not too worried about hurting feelings on FB. In actuality, I’ve de-friended people who I’ve thought about “Now, if this person and I were in the same town, would we actually have coffee or lunch together? Are the things we would talk about at the same sharing level as what I post on FB?” And that’s my answer as to whether or not we become FB friends.

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @jbbreck kritch, I use FB for personal use. I’ve got friends all over the country and it’s the best way I can keep up with them getting married, having babies, the dates/trips/vacations they go on. It’s also a way to keep my family in the loop in my day to day life without having hours-on-end conversations with them about everything 🙂

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @KenMueller Funny you use the bread-crumb-trail analogy… that was EXACTLY what I was thinking (the two kids in the children’s fairy tale). Another thing that many don’t realize is stalking can go both ways too (not just women). I’ve had a dear male friend get stalked by one of his female “admirers”. Though usually not to the level of danger women face, men can experience the frustration/fear as well.

  • C_Pappas

    @ginidietrich LOL ‘The Help’ was so good! My memere talks about Kennedy a lot and its both sad and amazing to think of how it was back then!

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @KenMueller Oh, and as far as the brains, I think I’m just the paranoid one. But thank you… and we are all smart in our own ways – that’s why the AD team rocks! 🙂

  • AbbieF

    @ginidietrich soon, very soon 🙂

  • @CristerDelaCruz shhh. I’m trying to give you an edge over @ginidietrich . And in my situation, it’s less stalker and more harassment.

  • NancyMyrland

    Hi Crister…it’s so nice to meet you!! I loved all of your suggestions. They are so smart, thorough and helpful to many. I look forward to reading more from you, and maybe even meeting you one day soon when i come to Chicago!

  • @CristerDelaCruz You hit the nail on the head there — I recently went through a de-friend spree because I wasn’t seeing the updates I cared about: those from my family and friends. More than once I froze before hitting unfriend, thinking “will I ever need to contact them in the future? What if I do?” I like your questions you ask yourself much better. They’re much more realistic, in my opinion!

  • mdbarber

    These are some really great, and differently positioned tips for all of us when using social media. I so like your line that it’s not the tool itself, it’s how you use it that matters. These tips are useful for all of us, but especially for young people. It regularly concerns me how much they are revealing online. Your thoughts on checking in for “protection” are interesting and I feel badly that you have to do it, but think it’s incredibly smart. Thank for these tips. I’m going to pass them on in hopes others will see ways they can participate and protect themselves at the same time.

  • jennwhinnem

    You know…I never thought of letting people know where you are as a safety measure – had always thought of it the opposite way. But you make a great point. I’m going to think on this some more, Crister.

    Thank you for a great post! Always love it when someone gets me to reconsider a strong stance I’ve taken.

  • kritch

    @jbbreck nice! interesting article.

  • I know why this is Spin Sucks; because my head is spinning and it sucks. Woah.

  • Psst…Mary…don’t tell anyone I’m asking you this on Crister’s post, but will you kindly give me the link to you blog so I can come visit? I promised and it’s still a promise. Shhh, sorry Crister!@mdbarber

  • mdbarber

    @Soulati | PR Too funny. It’s Let me know your thoughts. Reminds me…need new post tonight. Did a series on last fall’s election here in AK that was pretty fun; no politics for a while now though.

  • rodeenas

    Thanks for the great tips. I actually never considered my use of social media as a safety precaution. I’ve always thought the opposite. If I tell people my every single move and location, then people will know when I’m not home which could make my home vulnerable for robbery – overly cautious huh? You do share great points and might actually consider using Foursquare.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • AshleyACray

    RT @lorirtaylor How a Single Professional Female Practices Safe Social Media via @ginidietrich

  • LipingFeng

    RT @MelissaOnline How a Single Professional Female Practices Safe Social Media | via @ginidietrich @LinkedInExpert

  • rebeccalatham

    @birdify Great article!

  • Grit08

    Clearly you are a strong, smart and independent woman. It is really difficult for a woman, in particular online. The way how a male dominated social construct plays out in our world and opens women up to all types of inappropriate behavior is something that needs to change and quickly. It is really sad how this just continues but posts like this are a great way of spreading the word about how to do it the right way, enjoy yourself and stay safe online. There are some excellent tips here. Great post.


  • LauAmber

    @cindykane @Zite loved that! Great advice checking into cabs. If I ever move to a big city I’ll remember that one.

  • rebeccaodell

    I never really thought about checking into cabs. RT @GinaBericchia Can sharing where we are actually keep us safer?

  • Crister, I must be really dumb, because I didn’t realize you were a part of the new world order known as Spin Sucks/Arment Dietrich 😉 But seriously, this was cool, loved your take on SM, and am way impressed (seems to be the M.O. for Gini’s gang 😉 )


  • CristerDelaCruz

    @Marcus_Sheridan Thank you Marcus. I love your terminology “new world order” ! 🙂

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @Grit08 Thank you. Although, you guys need to be safe and cautious as well – not as much on the physical safety, more on the harassment and stalking aspect. I’ve had a male friend deal with that from a female.

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @rodeenas You’re so welcome. That’s my point about Foursquare – I have mine limited to the people who I know personally and will wonder why they hadn’t seen me post updates in a few days or hadn’t heard from me IRL.As far as my home, I don’t post details RE when I’m away (on Twitter). My FB is limited to those I know/trust.

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @jennwhinnem Thanks Jenn. I love that! Let me know what you decide 🙂

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @NancyMyrland Thank you for your comments, Nancy. Yes, definitely come visit our lovely city (just not during the winter though) 🙂

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @mdbarber The practice of “checking-in” via digital was actually something that has its roots from my childhood. I was one who never had a curfew growing up – my parents just wanted to know where I was at all times so I would “check-in” (call) them whenever I was leaving one place or had just arrived at my destination. Those DelaCruz parents were pretty smart.

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @Soulati | PR We love that you’re along for the ride!

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @mdbarber @Soulati | PR Chat away, ladies. I love it… kind of like people having conversations in my living room while I’m in the kitchen 🙂

  • jess1450

    @iannarino great find, my police officer father would thank you for posting this.

  • JustInTheSouth

    @mattledford seeing you reading @SpinSucks makes me Smile! I tell @ginidietrich all the time that I see people reading it !

  • SpinSucks

    @justinthesouth @mattledford makes me smile too! 🙂 @ginidietrich

  • CristerDelacruz

    @jess1450 Glad you enjoyed it. @iannarino Thank you for sharing!

  • meetusinghal

    @shonali I love the Title of this blog post 🙂 RE: How a Single Professional Female Practices Safe Social Media

  • ginidietrich

    @Marcus_Sheridan Well, that’s because we haven’t officially announced her yet!

  • Grit08


    Agree. It does happen. Not nice whatever the gender.

  • ExpertsnAuthors

    RT @tonia_ries Interesting tips: How a Single Professional Female Practices Safe Social Media via @ginidietrich

  • ginidietrich

    @JustInTheSouth Did you see @mattledford reading it with your own eyes?

  • JustInTheSouth

    @ginidietrich not this time. but next time I see him I will look! @mattledford

  • mattledford

    @ginidietrich @justinthesouth saw my avatar reading it. He still owes said avatar a coffee for doing so ;-p lol

  • ginidietrich

    @mattledford @justinthesouth I think I am owed coffee, as well

  • jennimacdonald

    Crister you have pretty much summed up my way of life! I moved to Seattle from Maine knowing one person, I used social media to create a career in a new city and used online dating to meet people. I have yet to find a boyfriend from any sites but it did introduced me to new venues and locations, That is also why I love Foursquare.

    So glad to learn that there is someone else out there doing the same thing. Congrats on your success. I also have had a stalker, which is why I don’t check-in that much, only in public places but I do ALWAYS give the info of the guy I’m meeting to a friend before I go out on a date. Such as where he works, lives, age and where he’s from. : )

    I agree that it isn’t the platform that puts your security at risk it’s the user. Don’t list your address or phone number. I don’t think you should check-in at home with the exact location and say you’re alone. Social Media is Common Sense!

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @jennimacdonald Thank you for your comments, Jenni. I’m all for finding new venues and fun places through online platforms… and I LOVE it when friends post pictures of their food on FB.

  • JustInTheSouth

    @ginidietrich @mattledford Fine coffee for everyone! Matt watch out Gini will have you out cycling before we finish coffee!

  • YvonneWindell

    How a Single Professional Female Practices Safe Social Media via @ginidietrich
    via @grattongirl

  • act_brave_b_you

    @grattongirl @ginidietrich ughhh so many people my age and younger need to know and understand this…

  • I joined; I didn’t know you couldn’t do that if you were married………..

    My wife thinks Twitter is like some big free dating site. I told her I suppose it could be if that was your intent; but told her if that was my intent I could be doing that just about anywhere on the internet.

    She reads my post from time to time and sees how everybody is lovey dovey, profuse praise, thanking everybody and really, just one big love fest. And from an outsider I could see where they might get that opinion if they saw a reply ‘hey, I’ll be by later’ or ‘see you at your place’ of course meaning your site.

    She is also quick to say ‘everybody thinks you are so wonderful, they just need to live with you for 30 days’……………….doh. BTW, I really am that wonderful and after 28+ years I think I just about have her convinced.

    All kidding aside, it is a totally different ballgame for a single female, especially a somewhat visible one in the online world. Sounds like you have the proper safeguards in place; and you don’t want to be paranoid but at the same time you can’t be naive either.

    Thanks for sharing this and I really didn’t try to join………..I think it was called something else…………

  • PatchouliW

    @KevinMinott @ginidietrich “I check into cabs” somehow sounds more intelligent and smart than wearing a condom.

  • PatchouliW

    @KevinMinott @ginidietrich if more people FourSquared their lives, missing persons’ cases would be easier to start working with! 😀

  • Angel4455

    RT @KevinMinott How a Single Professional Female Practices Safe Social Media via @ginidietrich

  • Crister,

    Loved the post. I’ve always joked that Foursquare led to 2nd class lazy psychotic stalkers. Thank you for presenting the other side of the argument.

    I have struggled with privacy issues and social media. When I jumped on Facebook I differentiated LinkedIn (professional) from FB (personal). After a few months, I realized my attitude was that of an employee, not an entrepreneur. Since I was (am still) making that transition, I’m a bit more open in FB and rarely post family pictures. I keep L/I strictly professional, but show more personality on FB. For the group that should really know what;’s going on with my family there are better forums. (telephone).

    Again, thank for sharing your approach. It’s a great perspective.

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @bdorman264 Thanks for your comments! After 28 years, you both deserve wonderful people, and it sounds like you’ve got them 🙂 Congrats!!!

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @barryrsilver LOL! I like your description of what you thought 4sq users were. HAHAHA.

  • StephanieLowe21

    Crister, I love your post! As a young female professional who recently moved to a new city for a job, I can relate to so many of the points you raise. Like you, my privacy settings on Facebook are high and I don’t friend anyone without some sort of trusted connection. It’s definitely difficult at times to figure out what to share and where to draw the line. Being new in town, I’ve used social networks to make connections and grow my social network in the city. But at the same time, being new and not having as strong of a support system around me makes me really think about the information I’m sharing. That being said, I love your view on location-based social networks like Foursquare. I’m so happy you pointed the other side of the argument, in contrast to people it to be “creepy” to post where you are and what you’re doing! I’m a huge fan of Yelp and Foursquare, but I never thought of “checking in” as a safety precaution. Great advice I’ll definitely start using! Thanks!

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @StephanieLowe21 Thank you Stephanie. And I’m SO glad you found the tips helpful. Yes, checking-in for me only works if the people who see them are trusted friends. Plus, I really don’t see how it would benefit me if an unknown Joe Schmoe knows that I checked in at Restaurant ABC. How are you enjoying Cincy?

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  • CristerDelacruz

    @rickcaffeinated Thank you and for the RT. Happy Friday!

  • I agree on online dating topic as there are many good opportunity there and many free dating sites like truly amazing how online dating has has made the difference

  • I agree on online dating topic as there are many good opportunity there and many free dating sites like truly amazing how online dating has has made the difference

  • birdify

    @rebeccalatham Thanks! Why not let her know? 🙂 sorry for my late reply, was in the boonies

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