Welcome to my 2016 A to Z series on how to establish a meaningful minimum for social media as part of a balanced life. Over the next 26 days, I’ll take a quick look at some of the pluses and minuses of social media and how to adapt it to your own needs and plans.
Geotags, a type of GPS information, are a built-in feature of smartphones and digital cameras made popular by the social media platform, Foursquare. Used as a way of indexing location, geotags function like a handwritten note on the back of a photo where the information contains geographic coordinates.
In the context of posts, geotags help readers to connect with an image. As marketing tools, they allow others to glean information about the popularity of places and venues. Geotags encourage relationships by connecting people to places they’ve visited or may visit, increasing a sense of community.
Many people are unaware that these invisible bits of data are used by stalkers and thieves for targeting people and property. (SOURCE: Cybercasing the Joint) This information is transmitted automatically from smartphones and cameras without making the user aware in real time that this is happening. For more information about crime and Geotags, click here. Geotagged images from Craigslist have even been used to target high-end goods for sale resulting in crime. In terms of personal safety, it is widely recommended that people use care when geotagging photos of children. Branches of the U.S. Military have even issued statements recommending personnel avoid the use of geotagged images. On the positive side, in terms of natural disaster, turning on location services has been used as a way to locate missing people.
Disabling the Geotag feature on your smartphone is easy to do, though you may need to turn it back on when you want to use the GPS feature of your phone for mapping. On the iPhone, you will need to look to the location feature on the phone.
Above all, a measure of awareness about how this data can be used goes a long way towards creating personal safety.
Question for today:
Do you know how to disable to the geotags/location information on your smartphone?
Does this issue concern you and do you have strategies you use to keep yourself or your loved ones safe on social media?