The internet has opened up so much real estate for the lives of the people of our world. I use 'real estate' rather loosely, but my intent is that the space between each of us has shrunk significantly in that we can access so much of each others lives without really knowing anyone in real life.
I recently learned a little lesson here on the interwebs that was very overdue, in reality.
I've always felt pretty safe online. I protect the kids names here and I've rarely considered my own name as threatening, since it's a pretty common name and I've never been able to find anything out about myself online. Nothing really juicey anyway. This feeling of contented safety left me the other day when I made a new friend.
I was at a pre-Gator-game party and met a bunch of people. We exchanged names and talked a bit while we were there. On the way out, we exchanged phone numbers. I really didn't think anything of it. I'm a grown up. I like people. I've often exchanged info with single serving friends and never heard from them again. Truth be told, exchanging phone numbers wasn't threatening, it was actually very helpful.
In reality, the lesson I learned here had more to do with my online presence than having given my phone number out. The person I met GoogleStalked me based only on my name and my city. I'm super glad I'd shared my number so that I could find out about the gaping hole I'd left in my online privacy.
Here's my recommendation to you. Ya know how sometimes you take pics of your kids outside of your house that you post online? Think about the fact that there may be a street sign in your shot.
Also, if you've never checked the Street View of your address on Google Maps? Give it a try. You might be surprised what you see.