Sandra here with a pot of chocolate velvet coffee going. Grab a cup, or if you prefer another beverage there is a lovely sideboard here with iced tea, fruit juice and sparkling water.
And listen up.
Social media is a reality and necessity for today's authors. In my contracts lately it is a requirement to have a social media presence. If you read Sarah Ladd’s blog about Facebook earlier this fall, you'll know it is a must when pitching to editors and agents. They will be looking you up and wanting to know what kind of presence you have.
If you are a published author now or plan to be, you will need a social media presence to become known, market and sell your books and to get your "brand" out there.
But is it safe?
As with everything in life there are dangers to look out for. Most of us, especially if we're relatively unknown are pretty safe. But are you aspiring to be on the best seller list? A famous author?
Then start now to take precautions to protect yourself.
A person I know works for the State Attorney’s office and is in training specifically to learn about the dangers of the Internet and social media. When I heard this, I asked if I could interview him for information for this blog post. As a point of interest, he looked up my name and found out when and where I was born, where I live, my phone number, address, etc and learned of my travel plans. Yikes I have already posted all over the place my email address, my phone number and my travel plans. A criminal can look up my address with my phone number and make his/her own plans. Is it too late to fix this before I become FAMOUS???
Here is a list of precautions to take when making your social presence.
1. WHAT YOU PUT ON THE INTERNET IS THERE FOREVER
For some of us--like me—it’s a little too late for this precaution. Because whatever you put on the Internet is there FOREVER.
Haven't we seen on the news already of politicians who have to live down a photo or experience from a wild party in their youth?
Oh dear, I know we posted some wild parties ourselves with Captain Jack. Blast, I knew I shouldn't have snuck off with him. And thank goodness no one with a camera got near us. Because we can look up those past blogs from days, months and even years ago. And Ruthy and Tina would find out who played those jokes on them. yikes
Oh well. It was fun.
2. DON’T POST PERSONAL INFORMATION
The obvious precautions-no phone number, email address, birthdate, place of birth, etc.
But what about your name? Here are some sites where you can look up people by name. Not only that, you can find out your address, birthdate, when and where you went to school :
While this can be fun to research your family ancestors, find lost family or friends or find info on yourself, you still have left yourself exposed online.
The above I had heard of before, but here are some other precautions:
• Don’t name friends or family members
• Don’t name past schools you attended
• Don’t talk about what church you belong to now or in the past
• Don’t post when and where you are traveling
• Don’t post your regular schedule such as regular meetings you attend
Oops! I’ve done almost all of the above. Thankfully I have been careful about family and friends.
Speaking of friends: When you post on Facebook to your private connections, your post can still get out there. If your friend comments back, then that post can be read by all of that person’s friends. So you may think only a select group is reading what you post, but more than likely it is being read by others not on your list.
Law enforcement officers are trained to find people they are looking for.
They get on Net Dectective, put in the name and under “check for” they put:
County Jail Inmate Search
Sex Offender Registry Search
Most Wanted Criminals & Fugitives
Find the RIGHT lawyer
You suspense authors-isn’t this information getting your mental juices going?
There are Geneology records also:
If they can find you online, so can others.
Did you know that if someone puts an area code in a search on MySpace, they can find where you have posted your phone number. Here’s how to find out who listed their phone number in area code 206.
In Google search engine type:
"my phone number is" 206 site:myspace.com
Anywhere in MySpace you've mentioned your phone number it will come up. Try it.
You can also type this phrase on Facebook’s search
Try typing your name in these Search Engines and see all the places you turn up:
If you’ve ever been mentioned in a local newspaper you can be located on these sites. Watch out Ruthy. Your rooster made you famous. Or should I say infamous?
3. USE A FAKE NAME ON FACEBOOK AND/OR MYSPACE
Too late for many of us. But if you are concerned about you or your children there are ways to delete these programs. It isn’t always easy but if you follow this link, Eric Griffith wrote an article with detailed instructions for 30 popular sites.
4. DISABLE GEOTAGGING ON YOUR SMART PHONE
If you have geotagging enabled on your smart phone, which you would if you use your GPS feature, every time you take a picture with your camera, it records the exact location of where you photographed that picture.
If you want more detailed information about this danger and how to disable it, go to this article by Tom Retterbush’s Posterous
This is one feature you should warn your children about. It’s rather scary. And hey, you suspense authors-another great source for a suspense novel.
After reading this can anyone determine where our motorhome is located?
So yes, we can use social media to our advantage as long as we are careful and take precautions to protect ourselves and our families. Its just like taking a walk in the mall—don’t leave your purse sitting unattended and men, tuck your wallets in inside pockets. It doesn’t mean you can’t take that walk in the mall. It just means be careful. Same thing for social media. These dangers aren’t meant to scare you away, but to teach you how to be careful.
Post a comment on ways you’ve discovered to protect yourself and be eligible to win one of the Seeker books on my bookshelf or a hardbound gift copy of PRICE OF VICTORY.
And with Thanksgiving coming up and with all the baking going on to prepare for it, I know you're saving your calorie count for that day. So let me offer you a platter of fresh cut veggies with a dip made of Greek Yogurt. A platter of fresh cut fruit including sliced apples (and for you North-easterners this includes several varieties to tempt your palette) fresh pineapple, yummy pears, raspberries, melon balls and grapes.
Okay, okay, I'll put out a platter of Sees candy too. The chocolate will give you a quick boost.
And if you're shopping for Christmas presents this week, be sure to remember purchasing books not only supports your favorite industry, but they also make terrific gifts.
|Releasing December 11th|