I was recently reminded that there is a need to tread with care when quilting, social media, and privacy are involved.
Another quilter and blogger recently contacted me to know if anyone had ever shown up at my home and asked to see the quilts I show off on the blog here.
This other quilter (I will call her “Sue”) has a quilt blog. She posts photos of her house, her pets, grandkids, garden, quilts, and basically her life. “Sue” has also not been careful over the years when it comes to quilting, social media, and privacy.
Hence, she recently heard a knock on her front door. The person knocking was unknown to “Sue”. The “visitor” wanted to come in and see the quilts she has been posting on her FB account and blog. This other woman said she had been driving around the town looking for the house that was pictured on her blog and FB account.
“Sue” told me that she was shocked. Never once in all of her posting had she ever thought about privacy to protect herself from this very occurrence. Then came the questions of why this “visitor” just assumed she could stop? Or that “Sue” would open her door and home to a complete stranger?
We live in a world that we need to lock our physical doors. Personal safety in and out of our home is very important. I think “Sue” just thought that no one would ever just show up at her house because of what she posted on-line.
My own story about privacy
More than 10 years ago, I had a similar occurrence due to my own naivety about how social media and/or blogging are not really private.
I had taken photos of several quilts and flower beds. I then put some on the old blog (this was before I realized that other people were reading my old quilt blog too). The photos clearly showed the front of my home and the house number.
Someone with more time on their hands than I do took the time to do research and found my home. This person brought several friends and drove here from another state. They just showed up to see the quilts.
I do not now, and did not then, just open my door to anyone who shows up. Especially not several someones I have never seen before and do not know.
My schedule is and was busy. Each day has a list to accomplish, and in general I am organized and get it done. And I do not like drop in guests – it interrupts my work and/or projects. I do not make excuses for my attitude.
When I looked thru the window of the front door and saw several someones standing there I did not open the door. Speaking loudly, I asked what they wanted. The response was they had come miles to see my quilts.
My response was I had no idea who they were and was not letting them in. The speaker pulled out her driver’s license to identify herself. She acted like it was normal to drive hours and show up unannounced at a stranger’s home, and expect to be let in.
Long story short is that we had an argument through the door. They finally left yelling nasty words and threatening to destroy me on social media because I would not allow them in to see the quilts they wanted to.
Personally, I do not think this is normal behavior. At the least, it is rude. I don’t think I know anyone who thinks it is ok to drive miles expecting a stranger to just open the door. Or welcome complete strangers into their home.
I immediately called the police with the license number and the ID name just so they were aware. I next called my husband at work to let him know. Finally, I called my boss and took a couple days off work.
During those couple days, I went back through every post and photo. I fixed the writing that was not private about my location. I took photos down from the blog or trimmed them up so little background was visible.
A reminder to all of us
We live in a world that is very sloppy about personal privacy. The sloppiness could be laziness or just not knowing there is a problem.
Use caution when you post on other blogs or social media. You have no idea who is looking at your posts. You need to think about the safety of yourself and family.
Photo cropping software is easy to get and use. Mine also has tools to blur faces or writing (like signs). I learned to use the software and continue to use it.
If you use your phone to take photos, make sure the location feature is off so that does not show up embedded in the photos. I found these directions. To get more specific instructions, google your own phone type.
None of us think that some stranger will just show up at our home expecting to be let in. But the world of today is full of ways to invade your personal space and privacy.
When it comes to quilting, social media, and privacy we as quilters like for others to see our quilts. We want them to be liked, complimented on, and seen by others. But do we want those other to invade our homes?
Be vigilant on-line.
I am very careful what I do on FB, which is not much as I am not a fan of the platform. Twitter and Instagram are not my thing at all. My Linked In account was deleted some time ago. Even my Pinterest account is not really personal except for quilts themselves.
We live in a world that utilizes computers. Use the computer wisely and guard your personal privacy on-line and off.
Besides, it is much more fun to quilt, then sit on the computer all day. Happy quilting.