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How a Single Professional Female Practices Safe Social Media

By: Guest | July 26, 2011 | 
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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 Match.com. 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.

Facebook

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.

94 comments
free dating sites
free dating sites

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

StephanieLowe21
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!

barryrsilver
barryrsilver

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.

bdorman264
bdorman264

I joined Match.com; 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 Match.com...........I think it was called something else............

jennimacdonald
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!

jess1450
jess1450

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

Marcus_Sheridan
Marcus_Sheridan

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 ;-) )

Marcus

LauAmber
LauAmber

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

KRLRose
KRLRose

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.

Kenny

rodeenas
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!

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

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

jennwhinnem
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.

mdbarber
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.

CristerDelaCruz
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?

CristerDelaCruz
CristerDelaCruz

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

CristerDelaCruz
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.

CristerDelaCruz
CristerDelaCruz

@KRLRose 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.

birdify
birdify

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

CristerDelaCruz
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
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.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

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
mdbarber

@Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Too funny. It's barbergp.com/category/blog/. 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.

Trackbacks

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