I had a dream the other night in which I got a phone call from a young man who was commenting on one of my recent columns. His voice sounded familiar, but I couldn’t quite place him, and he wouldn’t give me his name. He was very complimentary, and referenced other columns I had written over the years, so he was obviously either a long-time reader of my column, or someone I knew personally – or with whom I had crossed paths at some point. Our conversation was friendly and casual, and whenever I tried to thank him and end the call, he brought up another topic I had written about and commented on that, extending the conversation even further. Although he was pleasant and polite, I started to get uncomfortable after a while. This person started to seem like a stalker, and I got a sense of “big brother is watching.”

I don’t remember how the dream ended, but I do remember that it haunted me even after I woke up. I started thinking back over some of the things I’ve shared in the newspaper column I used to write, and that I share now through my blog. I write about my beliefs and observations, along with general information about my life and family, but I’m not one to post personal information or news of events like upcoming vacations or travel plans, either in my blog or on social media sites.

Still, I consider the dream to be a wake-up call – no pun intended – and a reminder that anything we post anywhere online can be seen and read by virtually anyone, anywhere in the world. And in this day and age of hacks, attacks, bullying, spying, and anything else that can be done in the cyber world, it’s a reminder I would like to share with everyone.

So please be careful about the information you share online, even if it’s within a closed group that consists only of you and a few family members. Remember that anything you post can potentially be seen by anyone, including people who could use that information to harm you in any number of ways.

Be smart. Be safe.  And enjoy sweet dreams.

July 14, 2017
©Betty Liedtke, 2017

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