Tuesday, February 5, 2013

just how safe are we?

This blog post has been swimming around in my head for weeks, but it certainly did not have the tragic ending that it now has.  In light of recent news surrounding a fellow Instagrammer's murder in Istanbul, I felt compelled to write this now rather than later.

In this digital age we live in, more and more cyber relationships are forming.  From fan pages on Facebook, to twitter accounts, and even on Instagram.  Now that GPS location seems to be attached to everything, it is easier and easier to see where someone has been or is currently.  And I'll be honest, it creeps me out.

I personally have my cell phone location service turned off so that when I post photos, it doesn't say where that photo was taken.  I don't want people on Facebook knowing that I was just at the Washington Monument ten minutes ago or that I am currently walking underneath the shadow of the Empire State Building.

My Instagram Feed
© Corrie M Avila

I have recently gotten into Instagram and have enjoyed the community of people on there.  I also love that I can see images taken from around the world at the touch of a finger.  This speaks deeply to my traveler's heart.  But I've started seeing these things on Instagram called "Instameets."  It is where someone organizes to meet other Instagrammers at a designated location and time and they go off and take photos together.  It sounds like a good idea in concept and is tempting.... but I just can't shake the creepiness factor of it all.  All it takes is one weirdo and suddenly a very innocent event can turn deadly.

Two weeks ago, some of my photographer friends on Instagram started posting photos of a missing Instagrammer.  Her name is Sarai Sierra and she goes by the Instagram name of @memyself_sarai.  She is from Staten Island, NY and went missing on a trip she took to Istanbul.

After missing for a 12 days, her body was found near the ancient city walls and autopsy reports have confirmed that she died from a blow to the head.  She leaves behind a grieving husband and two young sons who have yet been informed that their mother has passed away.

Now this could be a robbery gone wrong, but there are reports floating around that insinuated Sarai was going to meet someone from Instagram on the day she disappeared.  The truth is that they don't know what really happened to lead to this tragic event.

All I can say, is be smart, be wise, and cover your tracks.  Involvement in the cyber world is almost a necessity these days, but be smart about it.  Don't post your locations or specifics about where you will be.  Be smart about traveling alone, especially if you are a woman.  Be cautious about meeting up with people you don't know.  All I can think about is those two boys who may be finding out at this exact moment that their mom is not coming home...

Check out Sarai's photo feed on Instagram.  Her photos are inspiring and have now become her legacy.  Her family has set up a site where you can purchase her photos on Instacanvas and the proceeds are going to her funeral.

Be Safe, Be Smart ~ your life is more important than a photograph <3

Capturing the Moment,

Corrie <3

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