In the spring we participated in an excellent local conference in Royal Oak on Social Media. Great conference. The thing that surprised me though was the continual mention of FourSquare. FourSquare is a stalker app. You load it on your phone and every time you walk into someplace you hit the button and it announces on various social media where you are. I understand why retailers like this because they can hit you up with today’s special and learn more about their repeat customers. What I don’t understand is why people are willing to participate? Or maybe I do. I think it’s ego. I’m here! If you are the person that most frequents the location then you get to be Mayor. WooHoo, it’s not for me and I think it’s dangerous.
So now Facebook is in the game too. Having linked up with FourSquare they now offer something called Places. Here’s the twist, your friends can check you in to places, thereby helping a stalker find you, unless you turn this feature off. Do it now. Go to Facebook, My Account, Privacy Settings and flip Friends can check me into Places to Disabled. I’ll feel better about your personal safety.
The next latest thing is location services. Location Services is a very handy thing. On my iPhone it let’s the weather channel app show me the weather for where I am now. In Maps it shows me where I am now and helps me get to where I’m going. But did you know that when you take photo with the iPhone (or any gps enabled phone) that it embeds, latitude and longitude or address information into that photo? When you post that photo to the Internet that information goes with it. Someone created a website called I Can Stalk You, to prove the point that the information is out there. Fortunately you can turn this off too. It will be different on every phone but here’s how you do it on the iPhone. Go to Settings, General, Location Services then flip to Off next to Camera. While you are here flip to off any other application that you think doesn’t need to know where you are.
Be on the lookout for stalker apps. It’s the latest “cool” thing, but it can also the latest dangerous thing. Take care.