Some of you may know that I managed a LDR MilSO blog on tumblr for quite some time. That’s a “Long Distance Relationship Military Significant Other” blog. I kept that up mostly during college while Tony and I were apart, and once we moved in together, it stopped being important or interesting to me to maintain and update it anymore.
The whole time that I was maintaining that blog, I always had it in the back of my mind that maybe it wasn’t anybody’s business where I was or who I was vacationing with. I had created it as a means to cope with the way that the distance made me feel. It was a diary, not a publicity stunt, and since the distance had been eradicated, I no longer needed the blog to unload my feelings on. I had a lot of fans but no one really gave a shit about my personal life anyway. They were there for the LDR rebloggables.
So not only did the blog no longer serve its purpose; it had all kinds of personal information about me, like what city I lived in, my fiance’s name and rank, where we liked to spend our vacations, and when we would be seeing each other again, etc. I kept it very vague and general, but I know quite a lot about Internet safety, having been raised by cops, and also having common sense, so I know that even the smallest clue is all it takes to tip off a criminal.
Well, recently the Army has been very concerned about social media after receiving threats from ISIS/ISIL that they will be using the Internet to locate and “slaughter” the families of service members. Do I think this will happen to me? No. But do I think the threat is real? Yes. It’s very real, to someone. Tony expressed some discomfort at the notion of it, and he didn’t even have to ask. I took this and used it as the pretext to finally delete my dusty blog, and I went ahead and used my personal tumblr to let my fans know why I did it. Here’s what I said:
For everyone who followed my MilSO blog, Little Drawer of Love Letters, I want to thank you so much for your continued support, but I am really sorry to say that I decided to delete it today for safety reasons. You can read this article to find out more, but ISIS is threatening families of service members and is identifying them through things like our Facebooks, tumblrs and MilSO blogs. This is a very real phenomenon. The Army is publishing emails and warnings about this. I am not personally that worried about myself, but it is important to me that Tony feels totally safe and comfortable about my security. Everyone, if you have photos of your service members, please take precautionary measures to protect them and to protect yourselves and your families!
Plain and simple. Nothing I would consider too pushy, ridiculous, over-reactive, or hysterical, right? If anything, I used the ISIS/ISIL threats as an easy write-off to not have to delve too deeply into why it no longer interested me to keep my MilSO blog. I thought the warning would go generally unnoticed. Maybe a like here and there from other MilSO’s in the know. Nope. Not what happened. Here are some of the responses I got.
Ya’ll are so dramatic. & the media loves to play-up the threats. They don’t need social media pages to find military families. Go to any town with a military installation and many have housing off-post with hundreds of homes occupied by military members and their families that anyone can freely walk through.
^^^ Exactly. Plus, this “rumor” has been circulating for over a month now, and each time a new person finds out, I find it comical to watch the hysteria that ensues. Not down playing the threat ISIS is to our country, but I highly doubt ISIS members are scouring military spouses facebook pages and tumblrs when they can simply complete a google search of military installations. I’m sure they can put two and two together- military installation=military families. Don’t be so drastic.
Ok, obviously ISIS is scary and the articles written about them are terrifying, however you also have to remember the media will dramatize every little detail. As people above stated, if ISIS is really trying to “slaughter” s/o’s and families of US military members, they could just google military bases or whatever and they could find a lot of information that is readily available. If the military really wants to protect its members and families, they would make these pages private or take them all offline/out of phone books/maps/whatever else you could find them on, and that would solve those security/privacy problems instantly. However, I believe (and everyone’s entitled to their own beliefs) that as long as you are not posting your address online, cellphone, your full names, etc and just use your common sense, it’ll be ok. Yes, ISIS is scary and the fact that they are using social media to recruit members/terrorize innocent people, is a new thing and people may not be sure how to fully deal with it. Overreacting and being scared to death and being overprotective is however not usually the best course of action. Just continue on with your lives and use common sense and all will be ok :)
And here’s what I have to say.
I’m extremely disappointed with the above, insulting, flagrant and unsupportive attitudes of fellow MilSOs. This is not even the proof I needed that SOME tumblr MilSOs are just unnecessarily rude and bitchy. And for what purpose? To prove that they know so much about the Internet? To prove that they are “above” me for having my concerns? To prove that they are so cool because they don’t GAF about ISIS?
(Bitches be like…)
I have met a small handful of sweet MilSO girls on tumblr who are actually there for love and support, not to wear their SO’s rank or get attention for their barf-worthy love story. I am so sick of these women who think they know so much about politics and the military, and they know so much about everything because they are married to a service member. You only know as much as you know, okay? Intelligence isn’t automatically attained with a marriage license. How do I know so much more about ISIS/ISIL and the Internet than you when I’m not even married? Only another huge part of the reason it was so easy to delete my MilSO blog.
Point 1: I did not, in any way, react to the ISIS/ISIL threat article with hysteria or panic. You can view my original post in the top quote block above and see that It was a gentle reminder to anyone out there who did not know about this to practice PERSEC and OPSEC, as you always should. This is nothing new. And if you’re a MilSO on tumblr who doesn’t know what PERSEC or OPSEC is, you shouldn’t be on tumblr.
(I swear, you talk about me like this was my original post.)
Point 2: It was my personal decision to take my and Tony’s life out of the public eye, and not even for a terrible reason. As I mentioned already, it has always been in the back of my mind that maybe it isn’t anyone’s business. This did not just occur to me the moment I read the ISIS article. This had more to do with my own desire for privacy than with my fear of ISIS, and it just gave me a pretext to finally do something about it.
Point 3: On that note, it isn’t “HYSTERICAL” to practice Internet safety! And it isn’t stupid or ridiculous that my fiance also mentioned that certain changes to our privacy settings would make him feel more comfortable. I think he would know better than any of those MilSOs would. He is the one in the Army, after all. And I’m going to respect his wishes and do what I can in order to help him sleep at night before I even give any of those strangers’ opinions a second thought. Again. He did not ask me to delete my tumblr. That was my personal decision based on the discomfort he showed about the whole topic. I was anticipating his needs, and I wanted to get rid of it, anyway.
(Best and most selfless fiancee award goes to me and Amy Poehler!)
Point 4: This does not even have to be about ISIS, okay?! This is generally true in real life! And I would know that, coming from a law enforcement family. Predators. Rapists. Thieves. Even terrorists. It doesn’t matter. They all use online social media as one of many ways to find out more about who a person is, where they are, and where or when they’re going places. Oppositely, this is also how police locate criminals. Why? Because these are things you can’t learn from a telephone directory! Get real, girls! Online security is not STUPID or HYSTERICAL.
As was stated in my original post: I am NOT in a panic about ISIS over here, okay? But I am pissed about all the spiteful comments in the spirit of ignorance that these women displayed towards me (and towards other MilSOs who care!). They think they know it all. But how little do these people actually know about the Internet? The odds may be very slim that anything will happen to me, as I am no more interesting to ISIS/ISIL than any of the other MilSOs on tumblr, but that does not mean that the possibility should be disregarded and completely ignored. What if everyone had that attitude?
As adult users of the Internet, we should always be ever-vigilant to protect our identities and reputations on the Internet. After all, nothing is private. (And for that matter, I think ISIS would be more interested in targeting the stupid women making a mockery of the whole threat situation than they’d be to target someone who acknowledges and respects it.)
Point 5 - and perhaps the most important point of all: My Facebook is still full of pictures of myself in uniform and of my fiance in uniform. But my personal life is kept private, which is what’s actually important here. Not your home address. Not your telephone number. As those women so kindly reminded us already, these things are all readily available in telephone directories or on Google.
But if you’re Swarming or Facebooking it up like, “checking in to Theater XYZ with 2LT Boo Boo at 9:00PM tonight! We’re seeing Film 123!” (Which you KNOW you’ve done at least once in your life!) THAT is the kind of stuff that criminals (not just terrorists) are learning from your social media.
Why? Because you can’t lock your door at a movie theatre. You don’t have a gun in your closet at the grocery store! This is just Internet safety in GENERAL, which is important, no matter who is threatening you. Just ask Bruce Wayne where his parents got killed. Not at home where they were safe. In the alleyway outside the movie theatre.
Don’t say comics never taught you anything!
Point 6: One last thing I will point out. THIS IS NOT A “RUMOR.” This is something the Army is actually emailing us and talking to us about, because there is a precedent. I have to wonder, do these idiots even know what a precedent is? That means these threats are actually happening and have already happened. How dare they make light of or belittle the struggles and fears of the people who have already been threatened by saying that this can never happen, that this is ridiculous, and that this is hysterical? It can happen to anyone and it could happen to you.
So I’d like to thank these ladies anyway for their “support”. I didn’t say anyone needed to delete their blogs, too, but they can respect my personal decision or shut the hell up. Who do they think they are, anyway?
Peace out, A-Town.