It’s almost July. You know what that means! Beautiful summer weather, of course. It also means our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds are about to be overwhelmed with beach selfies and sunset photos.
We’re all guilty of it. And there’s nothing wrong with sharing a few shots of you and your family frolicking in a tropical paradise or posing with historical landmarks on your summer vacation. But how many of us take a moment to consider the problems that might arise from posting photos while on vacation?
I’m not talking about your house being potentially robbed because you’ve just let everyone know you are, in fact, not at home. That’s certainly a concern and this is an information security blog, so it is our fiduciary duty to at least mention it. But there are other dangers associated with posting while traveling. Here are five to consider before you hit the road:
You alienate your friends and family.
Sometimes, posting loads of vacation pictures, regardless of location, can be a bit tone-deaf. Keep in mind that there are people who follow you on the various social media platforms who don’t have the means to take a vacation. By constantly pushing beach selfies and dining photos in their face, you could very well stir up unintentional animosity and even ruin relationships.
This is not to say you shouldn’t post any photos. You work hard. You paid your way. It’s your right to celebrate by showing off your surroundings while you travel. But be diplomatic about it. You don’t want to come off as braggart and annoy your entire timeline by posting 10 pics a day with loads of hashtags. A little taste goes a long way.
You lose the moment.
Modern smartphones take amazing pictures, which have made it easy and convenient to capture experiences while on the go. The problem is when you try to share those experiences. Think about how much time you spend when you snap a photo, pull up Instagram, cycle through a bunch of filters, and come up a message with a bunch of clever hashtags.
Furthermore, once you’re in the app, you might notice you have several notifications from the last photo you posted, so you go through them and respond to your friends and family to let them know how much fun you’re having. Next thing you know, you’re digging through your entire timeline to satisfy the FOMO (fear of missing out).
All the while, you are, in fact, missing out. Be in the moment. Turn that FOMO into JOMO (joy of missing out) and post those photos a later time.
You are not Anthony Bourdain.
That’s really just a nice way of saying that, perhaps, no one cares. Unless it’s your brand, meaning people follow you on social media because of the food and drink and travel photos you post, then you should consider that no one else cares.
The fact of the matter is, while beach sunsets are nice, we’ve all seen them and posting a picture of one every day for seven straight days is a quick ticket to being unfriended. Your timeline doesn’t care about that order of tuna tartar you’re eating oceanside while they’re grinding away at work or getting ready for little league practice.
It may come off as rude, but it’s really just a throwback to the first point above. Be selective with what you share and limit how much share. Less is more.
You annoy your travel companions.
Have you ever been with someone that constantly has to document every single thing and share it on every social media profile?
It’s annoying. And it could get especially annoying for your loved ones who are taking a break from all the things in life that they deal with every single day, especially social media.
Once again, be in the moment. Take your pictures, for sure. But keep that phone in your pocket as much as possible. Enjoy the things and people around you.
You sacrifice situational awareness.
When in crowded areas, it’s always best to keep your head up and your eyes open. Digging into your phone does the opposite of that. Obviously, this isn’t a huge concern in some circumstances, but in general, don’t sacrifice situational awareness to fire off a few Instagrams.
And this includes connecting to public Wi-Fi so you can upload your pictures, which you should never do unless you’re using a VPN (virtual private network). Otherwise, you risk chewing up a lot of data, not to mention battery life.
Of course, you’re still going to post photos while on vacation or traveling, as you absolutely should. And a lot of those posts will be appreciated by your friends and family at home. But for the most part, it’s better to wait until the end of trip and then set up an organized photo album for people to browse as they wish.
As far as security issues are concerned, it’s a risk most of us are willing to take. If there are specific items that you can’t live without, consider storing them at a friend or family’s place while you’re out of town. Keep in mind that TVs are replaceable! Family heirlooms not so much.
With that in mind, have a great summer, keep those passwords up-to-date, and don’t forget about sunscreen!