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Twittering while traveling

We were out of town last week -- Bridget was at Disney World, and I was at the annual Asian American Journalists Association convention.

Perhaps it was Poked kismet, but while we were gone, both of us encountered the same question different ways: Do you make yourself vulnerable to thieves if you advertise, either via Twitter, Facebook or another social networking site, that you're away?

WishYouWereHere Each of us Tweeted -- and posted Facebook statuses -- that made it clear we weren't at home. Because neither of us live alone, maybe it's not as much of a worry.

But we've seen Tweets that say things like, ``Looking forward to my weeklong vacation with the family!'' And that's what led us to think that providing too many details might not be the best idea.

The whole nature of Twitter is that it's immediate; although people drop in and out of conversations, it's about what's happening at that instant.

Some of the most popular conversations on Twitter involve posting photos of something cool you've just seen or sharing information from a conference.

So it seems wrong not to share these kind of things.

Still, it always pays to be cautious about the fact that there are complete strangers out there watching what you say. There are millions of registered Twitter users, but anyone with Internet access is able to see public messages sent on Twitter.

So, maybe that just means eliminating some time elements. For example, is it really necessary for everyone to know how long you'll be away?

The security aspects of social networking extend to other areas, too. Everyone likes birthday wishes via Facebook, but we don't list our birth years, not just for vanity, but because of identity theft. That includes telling folks on Twitter,  "Oh, I turned 30 today!'' because then you just gave that information away.

I talked to the FBI about this and asked if they've seen any type of security problems like this so far. They said they've yet to hear about this actually happening -- the vast majority of Internet crime they deal with relates to fraud and identity theft, according to the Internet Crime Crime Complaint Center.

Still, we're curious: What other information do you shy away from sharing on social networking sites?

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I am very sensitive about not mentioning when my husband is out of town (he travels for business).

I have seen friends, especially on Facebook, who say "Husband just left for three days" or "I miss Hubby. Can't wait for him to come back home."

Women, in particular, should not be letting the world know when they are home alone.

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