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When My Status Updates Become A Danger To Me

Netizens don't know how vulnerable they are to online stalkers. Our blogger learns this lesson the hard way.
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The beauty of social networking sites is that you get to catch up with family and friends, even just through their online profiles, pictures and videos. Ever wondered what happened to your best buddy in Kindergarten? Or how your long-time elementary crush looks like now? Or maybe you're just curious about what's going on in your high school crowd. I'm guilty of hopping from one profile to another, one blog to the next, just reading what people have to say. Then my friends and I end up gossiping about whatever interesting thing we saw or read on whoever's page.

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However, I think the thing that's dangerous about these sites is the very thing what makes them popular. If I don't make my profile private, I make myself vulnerable to the public. And how am I to know who's watching or following me online? I've had a brush with a creepy stalker before and believe me, it wasn't an experience I'm willing to go through again.[readmore]

There was a guy I used to work with whom I was never really close to from the beginning yet who started chatting with me through YM. I thought it harmless so I just entertained him--until he invited himself to our office Christmas party. I purposely invited someone else (and made sure he knew that) so he'd think that he was my date. The chatting went on even after I left that company. I still didn't think anything of it, even when he said he liked me. He knew I felt otherwise, so I just brushed it off. Until one day, as I was walking to work, I heard someone call my name. There he was behind me, trying to catch up, with a long-stemmed rose in his hand. I had no idea how he found out I would be passing by at that time. It was scary, and I had to have someone else go up to him. Since then, I learned my lesson.

That is why I now always make my profile private. I only keep Facebook, Twitter, and Multiply accounts now but I changed the settings to private so not everyone can see everything I post.

Also, I purged my friends list to make sure that only people I know are in my list. And even so, I try not to broadcast everything. That way, if someone is seriously cyber-stalking me, they won't be able to figure out my daily routine (which is rather easy through detailed random updates). It may seem trivial, but when you notice someone following you wherever you go, it suddenly becomes an issue of your own security.
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