Social media is an amazing thing (be it Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and the like). You can stay in contact with friends and family around the globe. You can follow your favorite celebrities and see what latest antics they are up to. You can view the latest fight on World Star. Social media allows you to keep the world up to date with all of your activities. From the last movie you saw, to the favorite restaurant you frequent, right down to the latest piece of equipment you purchased for your studio.

It’s amazing isn’t it?

Social media also has its dark side. When you brag to us that you are on vacation, guess what? You also brag to us that your house is vacant. When you broke up with your recent love, they were able to follow you and your paramour. When you decided to call in sick on your job, your boss can check to see if you are double fisting drinks. Even when crimes are committed, all the police have to do is go on any social media. They will find you. And as you brag about your equipment and all the wonderful things you have, you also alert others about your equipment. Unscrupulous ones. Hence the title of this blog.

True Story

Names were changed to protect the innocent.

John (remember him from “How To Become A Professional Photographer” ?) loved to brag to everyone about the equipment he had. Every chance he had he would post photos on social media and to the world all about the wonderful toys he has. He was literally the envy of all his photography friends.

One day he received a phone call. It went something like this:

“Hi” caller said. “I would like to book a photo shoot with you.” It was a female voice. It sounded rather pleasant.

“Great! What kind of photo shoot would you like?” John inquired.

“Well I am looking to do some family portraits. We are about to have a family reunion and a some of my family members would like to get together and take some photos and get the blown up real big, like posters.”

“Oh, I can certainly do that. My camera can make photos the size of billboards!” John bragged.

“Oh really? What kind of camera do you use?”

“Well for this project, I will shoot with my Hasselblad.”

“Hasselblad? I never even heard of that? I only know of Nikon and Canon.” She replied.

John went on to brag about the reasons why Hassleblads were better than some silly old 35mm camera. And before you knew it, the session was booked and John went about his day. He even bragged about the lights he was going to use. Nothing but the best for his clients. The client was pleased. Very pleased.

When the shoot day arrived, the client arrived, but she was alone. What struck John odd was she had two large suitcases.

“My family is outside parking the car. I’m sorry for bringing all my stuff up here. Once we leave here, we are going directly to the airport and flying to the family reunion!”

John said okay and proceeded to set up the lights.

About 30 minutes have passed and eventually the rest of the family arrived. It consisted of a “brother” and a “husband” and a “cousin”. John thought that he was going to shoot a larger group of people, so he took out all of his equipment. It was what they discussed for the day of their shoot. As John was preparing to place them in front of the camera, the “cousin” pulled out a gun.

John was confused. “What’s going on?”

“Nothing, man. We here to take your shit.”

John felt his stomach tighten. A sickening reality just hit him. This was a robbery? Are you serious?

As the “cousin” sat John down, the client and the rest of the family opened up their suitcases. They were empty. They took John’s Hasselblad, lenses, lights, pocketwizards, light meter, computer and anything else they thought was worthy. They even stole his 35mm camera that h was so dismissive about. Before they left, they handcuffed John to a steam pipe in the studio. He was stuck there until the very next day when his next client arrived.

End of story.

There has been a rash of robberies in the New York area just like this one. And while it is all well and good to brag about all the wonderful toys you got to each and every one on the internet, take a moment to realize that every time you do this, you set yourself up to be robbed.

Stop it.