Wednesday, April 6, 2011

2011's Scarlet Letter

The other day I read a news article about a local teacher who is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with one of her students.  Within an hour of this story being posted, someone (presumably a stranger to her) had posted a link, via a comment on the article, to the teacher's Facebook page and divulged some basic information about her, like marital status, political affiliation, and favorite book or some other trivial fact.

I clicked over to her FB page (I'm a bit of a troll/voyeur in that regard) to check out what I could learn about her, and I was amazed at the amount of information I found out about a complete stranger.  I found her Etsy shop, learned she is a Stampin' Up demonstrator, teaches high school English, and I found a link to her blog via her Etsy shop.  On her blog I found a post from about a year ago where she had posted a link to the MLS listing for the house she recently bought.  The listing shows many details about the house that you'd like to see if you're in the market for a house, but she also inadvertently published her address for the world to see. 

Maybe she assumed only her friends and family would read her blog (as I assume about mine), and that it was safe to post the link to her new investment.  Little did she know that a year later, that information would be sought by any number of strangers attempting to make her feel miserable about a crime she may or may not have committed. 

Maybe it's the nature of my job that made me curious, or perhaps it was the news/scandal junkie in me - I checked in on her page throughout the day just to see if others were doing what I had done, but taking it further by stepping out of supposed anonymity and taking advantage of her lack of privacy restrictions by sharing their feelings and opinions about her alleged misdeed.  Some of the things I saw/read were horrible - not even close to something I'd type or say to anyone.  

Her most recent status updates seemed innocent enough, like "what am I so afraid of" and "what have I gotten myself into," referring to committing to making handmade cards for an upcoming an arts and crafts festival.  These status updates were taken out of context by the commenters, who left some pretty lewd comments - none of which I'll paste here.  Her students even chimed in; some defending her, others not so much.

This is a great commercial for better understanding of online privacy and security and keeping some information close to your vest.

No comments:

Post a Comment