How to Say Safe Online and Why You Don't Realize It's a Problem.
This message isn't just for travel bloggers, bloggers, journalists, and models. It's for every girl, every mother, every male who has a social media account open to the public.
An Outsider's Perspective to Social Media Enthusiasts
I wasn't into posting online too often. Hashtags, following people you've never met, feeling the need to constantly update your friends with what you're doing -- it just wasn't my thing. Until a few weeks ago.
I joined the bandwagon: upon establishing myself as a blogger and journalist, I opened up my social media accounts to the public. I had to: connecting with people to circulate your posts is a part of the game. In a competitive world of business and media, quite literally, social media is not an option. It's a comprehensive part of the networking process.
As I consociate with fellow travel bloggers and social media enthusiasts, I've picked up on something that bothers me:
A mobile upload. With built in filters, mobile editing programs, apps to add words or overlays, you can quickly give your picture a boost and share it in real-time. Hi world, look at me. My life is awesome. I'm excited.
You're telling the whole world, including complete strangers, where you are right now.
It's not safe.
I see it with travel bloggers, posting photos of the hotel at which they are staying for promotional purposes. Or with pretty girls, who are out with their friends at a nightclub or bar. If you're not amidst a massive crowd, you're telling potential predators where to find you.
Everyday is a #TBT
With my recent dive into shameless self-promotion, I've made the decision to never post in real-time. Even if it's just waiting to put a picture from last night up the next day, I refuse to share anything that isn't a throwback.
Although I've made this resolution upon opening my accounts, I'd like to publicly make it clear that when I do "check-in" with photos to hotels abroad, it will only be after I have actually left the accommodation of which I've stayed. I'm sure other bloggers share this practice; however it's not just something we should be doing. It's an open conversation we need to have with those who do not.
I'm inviting you to do the same. #StopMuploads. I'm pleading that you, the blogger, the model, the friend, the parent, stop checking in and posting your location if your profile is public.
This discussion isn't just for the young pretty females. Anyone can be a victim of crime. Although checking in and sharing your location does NOT make YOU at fault for anything that potentially happens to you, it can happen to you.
It can happen to anyone.
On January 25, 2014, "Harry" from "A New Yorker Travels" went missing in Mexico. An educated, well-traveled, healthy male; a friend to many and favorite amongst the travel community, has yet to be found.
Although Harry may not be directly related to my concerns of muploading, his absence is a jabbing reminder that we are all at risk for danger.
Please join the #HelpFindHarry #AyudaEncontrarAHarry movement and share his photo. You can learn more at
And contact email@example.com to get involved.
Let's have an open conversation about staying safe.
As a relatively small female who has traveled alone, who has been to massive festivals, who has witnessed young adults too drunk to function or experimenting with drugs, I thought that I'd considered near everything about how to stay safe when traveling abroad or enjoying live entertainment.
(See 21 Tricks to Staying Safe Abroad).
I'd like to add two more safety tips, specific to travel bloggers and journalists:
1. Get a PO Box or address for which promotional items can be sent. Don't give your real home address to anyone (including brands, authors sending books, etc).
2. If you are meeting up with someone you've never met to show you around or for a "business meeting," meet at a busy, popular spot such a as a coffee shop or restaurant -- not at your hotel.
I express my concerns not to not alarm you, but to encourage you to be conscious of real-life threats. I have met some fantastic people online who have led to professional opportunities and friendships. Through solo travel, I've made new friends and grown my career. However, for every group of wonderful people we meet, there might be someone out there threatening our well-being. Think about #StopMuploads next time you want to share that super cute #selfie or #foodgasm while you're still at said location. Darling, it can wait.
This post has first been featured on my blog TravelBreak.net