The Dangers of Live Video

Don’t get too personal when doing unscripted broadcasts on Periscope and Facebook Live. You don’t want people to know everything about you.

June 22, 2016

The live-video craze taking over social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook stands to help put real estate professionals in front of a wider audience of potential clients in real time. The problem is you don’t always know who might be watching.

Twitter’s Periscope app and Facebook Live, which both enable users to broadcast live video from their smartphones to viewers across the globe, can be a platform offering online stalkers and criminals a chance to get to know you and assess whether you’d make a good target. That’s a risk with any video you post online, but when you’re broadcasting live, you can’t edit out something you wish you hadn’t said or revealed about yourself. If you’re going to give people this kind of raw and instant view into your world, be vigilant in staying in your professional persona on camera. Live video lends itself to more casual, spontaneous, and personal interaction with viewers, but you don’t want to give away personal information to people who could use it against you.

Social media is already ripe with opportunity for stalkers and criminals to find out valuable information about you, so consider these tips to keep your live broadcasts from making you even more vulnerable.

  • Develop a set of talking points before you go live. Though platforms like Periscope and Facebook Live are designed for unscripted interaction with viewers, you can make an outline of what you want to talk about to help stay on message. If you forget in the moment what you wanted to say, you could find yourself trying to fill time with small talk until your memory returns — and it’s in those moments that you could let slip personal information. Keep your talking points nearby while filming in case you need to reference them.
  • Tell your viewers what kinds of questions you’re willing to answer. Facebook Live allows viewers to comment on your video with questions you can answer in real time. Say something like, “I’ll answer any question you have about qualifying for a mortgage,” to establish boundaries with your audience. Don’t answer questions that are even remotely personal in nature.
  • Be mindful of establishing a pattern of broadcasting alone. If you appear to be alone every time you do a live video, it could give the impression you’re vulnerable and an easy target. Do some broadcasts with colleagues or clients. Show you’ve got people around you who care about you. You might also consider turning off location services on your phone so viewers can’t see where you are.
  • Watch your tone and what you’re wearing. Keep a professional demeanor when broadcasting live. Don’t act or speak in a way that could be perceived as too casual, overly friendly, or even flirtatious. It could lend a sense of familiarity to viewers and invite unwanted contact. Also, make sure you’re not wearing clothes that are too revealing.
  • Don’t talk about your schedule. When you’re engaging in a real-time conversation with someone, it feels natural to discuss topics like what you’ve been up to at work and what your schedule is in the near future. Don’t let people know you’re going to be busy with evening showings, events, or classes. You’re not only telling them where you’ll be but where you won’t be: at home.
  • Film in a neutral space. If you’re broadcasting from home, make sure there are no valuables or family photos in the background. Same goes for broadcasting from your office. Remove personal items from your desk before going live.
Tracey Hawkins

Tracey Hawkins, a.k.a. "Tracey, the Safety Lady," is founder and CEO of Safety and Security Source. She is a former real estate agent who, for more than 24 years, has been a national speaker, educator and real estate safety expert. She has created the country's only real estate safety designation, the Consumer Safety and Security Specialist (CSSS) program, as well as the Broker, Manager, and Owner Certification Workshop with an Office Safety Policy Handbook.

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