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ABC 57 Investigates: Whos following you?

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Social media seems to be taking over our lives.


“I probably talk to people on Twitter more than I text them or call them,” said Jessica Williams.


It’s not just Twitter getting the attention.


The world is logging on to sites like Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn to interact with each other.


“We don’t have a way to guess how many people in the local area, but I would I would say almost everyone,” said mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">Eric Tamashasky with St. Joseph County Police Cyber Crimes Unit.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">With the action happening behind a keyboard or on a phone ABC 57 set out to see how much is being shared across Michiana?


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">ABC 57’s Emily Pritchard spent a couple of days on Indiana University South Bend’s campus and downloaded phone apps to track social media traffic.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">These included: Instawhere, TweetHood, Echofon, and TweetsNearby.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">Pritchard tested tweeting from campus and almost immediately, using the app TweetsNearby, her exact location was pinpointed on a map.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">We showed the app to Williams, a junior on campus, who pinged on the app a couple of times while we were on site.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">"Holy cow, ok. I actually know that person, that’s really interesting,” said Williams.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">Williams was most surprised she could see what people nearby were tweeting and she didn’t even know them.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">“It is kind of off-putting because you’re like wow, anybody could find me,” said Williams. “There could be a serial killer in Elkhart that could come find me so that’s why I try to be really particular in what I post,” she added.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">Williams said she feels more protective over her privacy on sites like Facebook, which have been around longer and hold more of her personal info.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">She claims she enjoys interacting with strangers on sites like Twitter and Instagram. She views those sites as places to share common “likes”.


“I think it’s cool that I can have friends that I’ve never met, but we can like the same pictures,” said Williams.


It’s hard to know at times, how far our posts can reach.


You can assume it’s farther than you expect.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">“What people thought was private 30 years ago isn’t even close. Anybody with a couple bucks and the internet can figure out where everybody lives,” said Tamashasky.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">He adds there is no perfect solution to stay safe while sharing on the web.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">“A lot of it is common sense and a lot of it is thinking about it as ‘what information am I communicating by this?’” said Tamashasky.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">If you’re a parent of younger kids, you might be wondering where to start when monitoring what they’re doing online? Tamashasky said the simplest answer is to Google what you don’t know.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">“The parents should be getting basically a list from the iTunes store of what the kids have downloaded. Google every single one of those things, so you know what they are,” he added.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">Like most things in life, Tamashasky said spending time on social media is a calculated risk and you need to use caution.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">For more tips you can watch the full interview with Tamashasky below.


mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"">Teens and young adults aren’t the only people logging on to share on the web.


Tune in to ABC 57 News Morning Edition at 5 a.m. on Friday to hear from a South Bend 81 year-old that said he doesn’t miss a day of checking out his Facebook page.


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