Saturday, 7 August 2010

If you use Foursquare, people will nick your stuff, murder your family, and you will end up in an asylum

Yeah, right...

I use Foursquare...  If you do too, and want to add me, you can do so here - I honestly don't mind your knowing that I'm going to the pub, that I'm driving to work, that I'm on holiday in Swindon (the UK's number one tourist hotspot!) or whatever...

I have been told - I'm sure lots of people have - that by telling people when I'm out of the house, I increase my chances of being burgled...  I've seen absolutely no statistical evidence either way, on this topic - and, since I'm being paid precisely nothing for my time here, I can't be bothered to go and look for any...  Instead, I shall bore you with my own (extremely well-thought-out) theories on the matter...

Now, I'm well aware why people would think that Foursquare would make you a priority target for your friendly local house-breaker...  You are publicising to the world that you are not at home - that, if somebody tried to enter your property unlawfully, right now, you would not be there to stop them...

But there are several problems with that idea...

Firstly, whilst Foursquare might tell you that I'm not at home, it doesn't tell you that nobody else is...  I live with two other people (my dad and my sister) and a dog - my Foursquare checkins tell you nothing whatever of their whereabouts, so a burglar might see my checkin, realise that I'm not at home, turn up, thinking that coast in clear, only to find that everyone else is still in...

Secondly, Foursquare tells you where I am - not where I'm not...  I don't list my home address anywhere on the website, so any burglars perusing the site would think something along the lines of "ah, Kit Marsden is not at home - I can go to his house and steal everything he owns!  Wait a minute...  Where is his house?  I know he's not at home, but I've no idea where he lives!"

Of course, a burglar could probably find out where I lived if, after seeing that I was not at home, he Googled me, and found out my home address that way...  But why would anyone go to these extraordinary lengths to burgle me anyway?  I'd have thought that anyone breaking into my house would be merely opportunistic - the kind of coolly premeditated robberies that take months of planning and require research and whole teams of people are usually reserved for far higher profile targets than I could be considered to be!

But, perhaps most importantly of all, being a Foursquare user has no effect on the fact that I always close all the windows before I go out, and make sure to lock the front door as I leave...  Of course, I'm aware that a determined man could break in despite such elementary precautions - but, that is true regardless of what websites I use, or what information I put online about myself!  My point, really, is that a burglar hoping to break into my house will encounter exactly the same obstacles whether he rocks up at my house by chance and decides to do a spot of stealing on the spur of the moment, and I just so happen to be out, or whether he has decided specifically to target my house because he knows for a fact, through the medium of Foursquare that I am at Birchanger Green Service Station on the M11...

2 comments:

Jack said...

Would you really equate "he Googled me" with "robberies that take months of planning and require research and whole teams of people"? Unless the burglars are a team of unimaginably slow typists who are so weak it takes multiple burglars to press the keys down... If this is the case, I don't think they'll be doing much burgling anyway!
I enjoyed your post, as ever!
-Jack 'Kav'

AubreyRose @ My Simple Everyday said...

Nice! You raise good points that I never really thought of... though I still feel apprehensive to use FourSquare :) I'm guess I'm just a worry-wart.

Post a Comment

Feel free to leave a comment - give your feedback, answer a question, start a debate, make a point, or simply hurl abuse... It's up to you! ;)