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.


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.