Friday, April 2, 2010

Facebook puts new spin on old crimes

KTLA.com in LA reports a new spin on a not so new pastime. For that matter the spins probably not all that new. There's not really anything new about groups of teenagers or early twenty-somethings finding an unoccupied house, breaking in, and trashing it. It's also not new that the partiers don't really care if the house is empty because it's abandoned or because the occupants are away. Actually, they probably prefer the occupants be away, that way there's probably food and maybe alcohol already there.

What Facebook and other social media have made possible are a much shorter amount of time needed to setup the "party". Twenty years ago it took time to find a suitable house, let people know where the party was being held, and get everybody there. Today, thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and others, a careful online search can find empty houses in minutes. A Facebook update or a tweet can potentially allow thousands of people to find out about the party simultaneously, and in no time you have hundreds of people trashing your home.

As I said, this isn't exactly new. What is new is that many people are now transmitting to anyone who cares to look that they are leaving for an extended periods. So along with having your mail held, your newspaper subscription suspended, and your lights set to go on and off while your gone, make sure no one in your family reports to the world at large that you are going to be gone.

Remember, sites like Facebook are tools. It's up to us how we use them.