HOW TO....

Social networking on vacation

Five rules of thumb to spare you from headaches while you


Summer breeze, hot sun, sandy beaches, deep blue waters, umbrellas, round shapes, Mai Tai and Piña Colada, “all nite long” parties… you know, summer holidays. And yes, the urge to let everybody know how good it is to be doing nothing at all, while they’re so miserable in their steaming offices this torrid July.

Although I prefer hiking to sunbathing, here is a short list of things I always do when leaving on vacation with the laptop in my backpack:

1.Never advertise your absence from home before and while actually being on vacation. I know, it sounds a bit paranoid, but, as an old saying puts it, “better safe than sorry”. Telling the world that I’m not home makes me a bit uncomfortable – it feels like having a poster on the entrance of your building that says “Burglars, please check out apartment X. There’s nobody home for two weeks”. For the same reason I never use geolocation applications.

Social networking on vacation

Social networking significantly blurs the sense of privacy and alters peoples’ behavior in terms of what they would do in a real, normal, everyday life situation


2. Stay away (as much as possible) from social networking. The Latin etymology of vacation means “freedom”, “exemption” and “dispensation”. I believe one can put on hold his or her circle of virtual friends for a while in order to actually enjoy hiking, sunbathing, discovering new places and people as well as  to spend time with friends in real life. Temporarily cutting the cord that keeps one connected to the Web 2.0 world can actually be benefic – think about the stories you can tell later.

3. If you can’t resist the temptation, try not to flood your friends or connections with posts, pictures, links or any other form of messages from the long-awaited vacation. Chances are that you will soon run out of interesting stuff and that you will start revealing some unwanted details – your semi-nude pictures or videos revealing your party-animal side, gossip about friends and colleagues or bad things about your boss. Bottom line, don’t post content that you could regret later. Think about it this way – if you don’t have the guts to show this to your parents, children or your boss, it’s probably not OK to show it to the rest of the world either.

4. Always use a secure connection. As incredible as it may seem, posting something on your wall without the appropriate security measures could end up compromising all the stuff you are carrying on that laptop. If you use a wireless connection, make sure that your connection is encrypted and that you know and trust the owner of the access point. A good idea would be to refrain from using an unsecured public wireless connection (like those in airports or hotels) when sending data over the Internet. Also, if you did not bring your own machine, it is recommended to avoid using a non-secured computer (such as those in the hotel’s lobby or Internet Cafes). Still, if you are forced to do so, make sure you at least run BitDefender’s advanced scanning on-line tool, Quick Scan, before proceeding.

5. Last but not least, install and activate a comprehensive antimalware solution, such as BitDefender Total Security and always exercise common sense.

Safe networking, everybody!

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About the author


With a humanities passion and background (BA and MA in Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest) - complemented by an avid interest for the IT world and its stunning evolution, I joined in the autumn of 2003 the chief editors' team from Niculescu Publishing House, as IT&C Chief Editor, where (among many other things) I coordinated the Romanian version of the well-known SAMS Teach Yourself in 24 Hours series. In 2005 I accepted two new challenges and became Junior Lecturer at the Faculty of Letters (to quote U2 - "A Sort of Homecoming") and Lead Technical Writer at BluePhoenix Solutions.

After leaving from BluePhoenix in 2008, I rediscovered "all that technical jazz" with the E-Threat Analysis and Communication Team at BitDefender, the creator of one of the industry's fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified security software. Here I produce a wide range of IT&C security-related content, from malware, spam and phishing alerts to technical whitepapers and press releases. Every now and then, I enjoy scrutinizing the convolutions of e-criminals' "not-so-beautiful mind" and, in counterpart, the new defensive trends throughout posts on

Balancing the keen and until late in night (please read "early morning") reading (fiction and comparative literature studies mostly) with Internet "addiction", the genuine zeal for my bright and fervid students with the craze for the latest discoveries in science and technology, I also enjoy taking not very usual pictures (I'm not a pro, but if you want to see the world through my lenses, here are some samples, messing around with DTP programs to put out some nifty book layouts and wacky t-shirts, roaming the world (I can hardly wait to come back in the Big Apple), and last but not least, driving my small Korean car throughout the intricacies of our metropolis's traffic.