|by Sean O'Neill||Questions and Opinions, Safety and Security, Technology||36|
Facebook is a fun way to connect with friends and family, but it can sometimes be tough on relationships—especially when it comes to sharing vacation stories.
Sometimes one person in a couple shares online a lot of details about upcoming vacations or vacations you've just come back from, while the other doesn't, thinking it's T.M.I. (Too Much Information).
For some, it's about safety. It may be deeply unnerving when your sweetheart posts on Facebook about upcoming vacations. A spouse might say, "I don't think it should be public knowledge about when we're out of town." Or, more sarcastically, "Why don't you post a giant sign advertising to robbers the best time to break in to our place?"
There's a serious point here. Say your house is, in fact, robbed while you're on vacation. True, there aren't any known cases of an insurer invalidating someone's homeowners' policy because the policyholder broadcasted his or her vacation whereabouts via social networks. But that day is coming.
UPDATE November 10, 2011:
That day has arrived:
U.K. insurance website Confused.com is warning people they could eventually face hikes in their home insurance premiums if they use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to reveal vacation information and then they're burglarized.
For others travelers, the worry is about hurting the feelings of family and friends with the news of your vacation. Consider the story of BT reader Noah Cole:
My wife and I recently spent 3 weeks in South Africa during my sabbatical. Facebook and Twitter were great for keeping people up to date while traveling — it is amazing to be on safari in Africa, take a photo of a lion with my iPhoto and upload to Facebook via a 3G connection for instant viewing by people around the world. Many people thanked me for the photos and liked to live vicariously through them. Others, however, were clearly a bit jealous and didn't hesitate to let me know that they didn't appreciate having to see me on sabbatical while they were sitting at work.
My wife and I also had several disagreements while there and again once we were back while choosing photos to post about the amount of information I was sharing via Facebook. My view was that I should be able to choose which photos and what information to post for my friends, relatives and colleagues. Her view was that since I'm friends with many of her friends and family, I need to respect her wishes for what is shared. Ultimately I agreed not to post a few specific photos, but it is a tricky area.
Key points to make here are that you need to understand the latest privacy settings. Have you talked with your traveling partner about what's okay to share and not share online? Are you sure that only your immediate friends and family can see your whereabouts?
Let us know what you think about sharing information about your trips via Facebook and Twitter.