With a single glance, I can see that one of my closest friends is spending his Friday night at a sushi bar in Las Vegas; that a fellow Army wife just left the zoo with her children and that another is on a much needed date with her husband at a hip new bistro in Raleigh, N.C.
This impromptu reunion is made possible through Facebook. They didn’t post their locations in their status. Instead they “checked in” to the location so everyone can see where they currently, physically are.
I love Facebook. I feel like I can catch up with all my friends in an instant. The problem is, I’m not the only one who might be checking in on them.
The Facebook application, Places, allows you to check in to a location through your mobile device. Your smiling face then appears on everyone’s wall with your current location.
It’s totally cool if you want to share stats on a great new restaurant with your pals. It could be dangerous if the wrong person is keeping track of your whereabouts. Now, it does feel a little hyper vigilant and maybe a bit overprotective to declare that this app is going to lead to abductions, stalking and certain death and destruction.
But the Department of Defense thinks enough of the new technology to warn military members and their families that enemies could eventually make it work to their advantage. Tracking a single soldier could lead to finding the whole unit. Could finding the whole unit, and maybe their families, lead to the enemy placing them all squarely in their crosshairs?
At this point, it’s uncertain. But the idea of better safe than sorry certainly comes to mind. My husband’s unit, and many others across the country, has asked family members to set their Places settings to private.
If you’d like to do the same, follow the directions listed at the following websites with writers who are much more tech savvy than I.