being online safely

I can’t go through the rest of the day without having my brief say. Just to get it off my chest.

Adorable agent, @BookaliciousPam was assaulted last night by a rejected…writer.

You heard me right.

Pam was saved by her dog, a Jack Russel terrier. (Let’s not malign the accompanying bulldog. From what I can gather, it is still a puppy.)

And now comes the hand-wringing about being too available on Social Media. Like we should all hide behind fake names and put masks on our profile pictures a la Michael Jackson.

Let’s reel it in a bit.

Writers, agents, publishers…we are in a public business. And in this day of personal advertising, almost every profession is a public business. We have to accept a certain amount of “being out there”.

Heck. I started out as a lurker. But soon enough, I wanted to connect with people. I wanted them to know who I really am. Fine, I usually have a stupid non-photo Twitter Avatar up that I change pretty often. It amuses me. But if you go to one of my THREE BLOGS you will find a photo or two of my actual person. And my Tumblrs should have Gravatars of actual me, but at this point, I can’t swear to it.

You know where I generally live if you follow my blog and Twitter. But what you DON’T know is my exact address and phone number, because…

  • I don’t call my husband by his real name in my writings. Anywhere. Or my children. I don’t publish pictures of them unless their faces are blobbed out.
  • I have paid the extra bit of filthy lucre for my domain name on my website for teens, lishacauthen.com, to be registered by proxy, which means my personal info such as my street address is not public information. Yes. I didn’t know about this stuff when I first bought my domain. Imagine my shock when I found out that people can look up any domain name and see who owns it. Yeah, fine. But they also see where the domain owner  lives. ACK.  **Check your public domain name info here.** Just have your company register it by proxy–GoDaddy does it on the cheap. Other companies can do it for you as well.
  • FourSquare. Oh, FourSquare. You give handy discounts, but you also tell people where the eff I am. Guess what. YOU CAN TURN OFF THE PART WHERE IT TWEETS WHERE YOU ARE. I still don’t use it, but Freckles does, and I TOLD HER TO TURN OFF THE PART WHERE IT TWEETS WHERE YOU ARE.
  • Facebook I only use for people I actually know. And I have locked it down like Alcatraz. Keep checking it, my friend, to make sure you have your Book of Face tuned correctly on the privacy settings. They keep a’changing. I am always stunned by how people lock a select few things, but miss others. A good snooper, such as myself, can go in the back door and find out a lot of stuff if you don’t check. Every. Setting.
  • And by all that is holy, if you leave an empty house, don’t Tweet vacation pictures. I Tweeted the hell out of my trip to Albuquerque when I took Freckles McYoungest to college. But Big Bopper was home, in our house, with Hairy Beast. Also, Catler, who is probably even more ferocious.

Do not take any of this as a finger-wagging at Pam van Hylckama Vlieg. If someone is crazed, they will hunt you down and it will make no difference what you do to stop them. There are police blotters full of violent stalkers who focused on people NOT on the internet, even people who never had any social interaction with their stalkers at all.

Pam did not bring this on herself. Pam is not responsible for the violence done to her.

This blog is in response to the worry I see on Twitter today about exposing ourselves in our social media interactions. I thought I would share a few things I do to not make it easy for your average nut to harass me and mine.

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About Lisha Cauthen

Lisha Cauthen writes YA novels for guys that girls like to read too.

Posted on September 14, 2012, in blogging, life and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Gah. GAH. I started out being extremely wary about revealing everything. Now I’ve revealed a lot and often find myself wishing there were an “undo” button. There is not. But I do feel myself moving into a less-revealing mode again, and I’d like to stay there.

    Then again, the person I least want to know about me is (by virtue of being a PI) most equipped to know whatever he wants. Sigh.

  2. Deborah, don’t know if you’ve seen the edits I’ve made to the post. Had my Ghostery setting locked down too much and had trouble posting correctly.

    You make a good point–there are a lot of ways people can find out about us. Social Media is only one way.

    And your other point–what exactly are we revealing? Are we just revealing who we are as a person, like we would when we meet somebody, or are we giving our social security number?

    BOUNDARIES, PEOPLE.

  3. Really helpful, thanks! I’m way too far out there too – in some areas. Thanks for the reminder…

  4. I think you share your adventures in Qatar without compromising your safety. You’re quite respectful and your enthusiasm for your host country’s culture, even when it baffles you, is evident.

    http://bobandcindi.blogspot.com/

    I don’t think anybody could track you down. Free domain names with the host’s name in it like wordpress, blogspot, and livejournal are automatically registered by proxy.

  5. Good post, good info. I am always concerned about how much I am revealing. And because Book of Face is always a’changing, and because they always seem to be playing a game of gotcha, I’m sure I’m never up-to-speed on my settings. I’d be even more concerned if I had young children. Too many folk put too much info about their kids on the Internet. Scary.

  6. Indeed, Judy. Privacy doesn’t really exist any more, unless you really work at it.

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