Oversharing Online

Social networking and blogging is booming. It’s a great tool for people to connect or keep family and friends up to date. However, it can also be a stumbling block for folks embroiled in a family law case.

One of my routine techniques of informal fact gathering is to check the names of opposing parties on mySpace and Facebook. It always amazes me how much information I can gather with a simple search.*

A lot of folks either (1) don’t realize how simple it is to track down their personal websites; or (2) mistakenly feel anonymous or safe because a nerdy lawyer couldn’t possibly think of checking mySpace. (Note: There are a lot of nerdy lawyers who own mySpace and Facebook accounts – we’re aware of the phenomenon.)

It’s a simple matter to make your accounts private and to block unwanted users from viewing your information. It’s also not a bad idea to keep sniping at the ex or sniping about the ex off topic, even if your site is private. Also, be aware that your “friends” who are allowed access to your account could suddenly switch sides and start reporting on your posts.

Before hitting “publish” or twittering or even sending that IM, ask yourself if what you are about to publish would embarass you if it shows up attached to your ex’s declaration. If the answer is “yes”, hit delete instead. Less said, less mended.

*There are a plethora of evidentiary issues with admissibility of websites or print-outs from websites. However, whether or not I can admit the information I find on a website, it can still be very useful as part of the information trail.