Sunday, December 25, 2011

Conferences and Online Safety 101

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If you are attending , or any conference for that matter, there are many things to look forward to and be excited about. It's easy to get enthusiastic and when you use Twitter as much as I do, it's easy to forget to also think about safety. As conferences start rolling around, it's fun to follow whether you attend in person or not. People will follow , for example, for session discussions, resources and sometimes to find out WHERE PEOPLE ARE.

Warning #1
I don't meant to be sexist, but it seems that men are not as concerned about this, so this is especially for women. Don't PUBLICLY announce on Facebook or Twitter what hotel you will be/are staying at. A few years back, I had someone who follows me online show up at my hotel to meet me. It was not a mutually agreed upon meeting, I was not expecting this and he must have known where I was staying due to me being too public about my whereabouts. Silly me. I'm sure he meant no harm, but it scared me. It is good to know that hotels are NOT supposed to give out any information about whether or not you are a guest at their hotel to anyone. I now check with the hotel about their policy on this when I check in. Another FYI: They are also NOT supposed to say your room number out loud to you when you check in (unless visually impaired).

Warning #2
If you live alone, and you have enough of a web presence for others to know this, don't announce your departure and arrival times. This means your home may be unattended.

Warning #3
There are likely to be parties or meet-ups. Think carefully about where you are going, who you are traveling with and whether or not you really want your location Tweets public. Use DMs or text messages whenever possible; especially if a meet-up is at someone else's rental or hotel. This one is for men, too: Think about whether or not you are "outting" someone else's hotel or housing location.

Butt Into Someone Else's Business
This blogpost came about because as I was searching around Twitter about an upcoming conference, I noticed someone had Tweeted how excited she is about attending and where she will be staying. I am not linking to the Tweet, nor did I capture a screenshot; doing either would only publicize her Tweet further.

When I see these Tweets from women I know, I will usually simply suggest that they not publicly announce their housing location and they may want to delete the Tweets. It's only a suggestion and they're certainly free to do whatever they want. Normally, I try not to butt into other people's business but I do think we need to look out for each other. I always waver as to whether I should say anything or not, but then I think about the fact that I would greatly appreciate it if someone did that for me.

A note about Facebook. As you may already know, Facebook is well known for frequently adjusting their privacy settings. Even with notification, users are often confused. You may want to check your privacy setting on Facebook and be sure that IF YOU WANT your photos, posts, likes, and comments elsewhere available only to friends or even posted on your wall at all, then that is actually what is set. Also, be sure your Twitter and FB passwords are secure.

What do you think? Am I overly cautious? Should I mind my own business? What are your safety tips for attending conferences?

I look forward to your comments.

While you're thinking, if you're not already creeped out enough, you may want to try this live action interactive Facebook connect experience, .

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sonrisadelcampo said...

Good, solid, advice. You are NOT overly cautious. A gentle reminder, such as what you explain that you send sometimes, is a nice way to show your concern.

Anonymous said...

Makes perfect sense to me, and thank you for the advice. I love your rationale, that you would want someone to warn you; I totally agree, and feel woman need to be careful, although we all need to watch our digital footprint. Thank you and Happy New Year!


Dr. Joan McGettigan said...
Thanks Lee! It's ironic that we preach cyber safety to our students but do not always practice what we preach. I would add that it's a good idea not to have any app except for map/gps needs set to "location based" Thanks for looking out for everyone!

Monday, December 26, 2011


@Dr. Joan
As for practicing what we preach, I think for the most part we do make that effort but the fact that it's SO easy to forget should remind us (adults) to be sensitive to our students who will also become complacent.

Thank you for your comment and the good reminder about location-based settings.



True, not many men actually are concerned about this - unless it's their bank accounts and online game accounts we're gonna talk about.

This comment has been removed by the author.

What I meant to say fully was.

I remember being there in your first example lee and how you felt. I'd also recommend of course traveling in groups as well. I make it a point as a male to make sure my female friends make it back safely to where they are staying. Even if it means, and it has, meaning I walk solo back to my hotel a short distance. Makes me sleep a little easier.


Totally agree with you Lee and it's important to always travel in packs. No matter how tough or safe you think you are ALWAYS travel together. ALLOW those wonderful people who you know and trust (like my buddy Tom) who offer to walk you back to do so don't fight them!

Thanks for the reminder Lee!


Lee, I think these are great ideas. As you read in my own blog recently, even conferences can be a place where co-workers, supervisors, or board members look more closely at FB and Twitter about what is happening "outside" the conference. For instance, I take a lot of pictures, but I always try to make sure there are no adult beverages showing (I've missed a few). I live in the belt buckle of the Bible Belt, so I may be overly cautious about those kinds of things. :) Taking care about what is posted is always a plus. Thanks for the reminders.



This is great advice for anybody male or female. There is another element of social media that gets overlooked and that is the posting of images. I find, far too often, photo gets posted of folks with beer or wine in their hands and more often than not without their knowledge. As we have seen this can seriously jeopardize the employment of many and is not very considerate or discretionary. I always remind folks on many of the things you touched on like, Is it really necessary to announce what you are doing? There is something to be said about privacy. I have also seen relationships take a turn for the worse because of innocent posts that were construed the wrong way too. Your post is not overly cautious it is the reminder many need, in some cases every time before they attend a conference.