We had a break-in a few weeks ago, and I mentioned it on Twitter. I didn’t really want to moan too much, it was more a passing observation, as in “today I got up and found the window open…” but when a friend asked me how the burglar(s) got in, I used the h-word when referring to them (I know from my daughter’s primary school guidelines that “hate” is forbidden in the complex, multi-cultural world we live in).

Anyway, it was probably good that I got upset and angry as the person who had just bought my laptop online had found all my personal details and files and was also reading my Twitter updates.

Having paid good money for a secondhand laptop from a reputable website, he had little reason to believe it was stolen. It was only when he started digging around, installing a new operating system that he found my (very badly hidden) files. Even then, the laptop still could have been bonafide secondhand. But a quick Google of my name brought up my Twitter profile.

Being an amazingly honest sort of bloke, he phoned me up and arranged to meet. In the space of a few hours I had my laptop back.

What a lovely guy. Not only did he return my laptop, he’s also given me a great case study in how talking about the mundane events of your life can actually be a good thing: share your misfortune and there might just be someone out there who can help.

Obviously, use common sense when tweeting and Facebooking about certain things: don’t reveal anything online that you wouldn’t want to be overheard in the pub. If you’re worried about personal security, see these tips from Get Safe Online.

Photo: Brent Emery