authors on social networks

Six Things You Shouldn’t Do on Facebook

I read an interesting piece on yahoo I wanted to share. Since so many authors and readers are on facebook, these six things you shouldn’t do make a lot of sense. And I have seen all of these rules broken at least once. Link is here.

Your Birth Date and Place
Sure, you can say what day you were born, but if you provide the year and where you were born too, you’ve just given identity thieves a key to stealing your financial life, said Givens. A study done by Carnegie Mellon showed that a date and place of birth could be used to predict most — and sometimes all — of the numbers in your Social Security number, she said.


Vacation Plans
There may be a better way to say “Rob me, please” than posting something along the lines of: “Count-down to Maui! Two days and Ritz Carlton, here we come!” on Twitter. But it’s hard to think of one. Post the photos on Facebook when you return, if you like. But don’t invite criminals in by telling them specifically when you’ll be gone.

Home Address
Do I have to elaborate? A study recently released by the Ponemon Institute found that users of Social Media sites were at greater risk of physical and identity theft because of the information they were sharing. Some 40% listed their home address on the sites; 65% didn’t even attempt to block out strangers with privacy settings. And 60% said they weren’t confident that their “friends” were really just people they know.

Confessionals
You may hate your job; lie on your taxes; or be a recreational user of illicit drugs, but this is no place to confess. Employers commonly peruse social networking sites to determine who to hire — and, sometimes, who to fire. Need proof? In just the past few weeks, an emergency dispatcher was fired in Wisconsin for revealing drug use; a waitress got canned for complaining about customers and the Pittsburgh Pirate’s mascot was dumped for bashing the team on Facebook. One study done last year estimated that 8% of companies fired someone for “misuse” of social media.

Password Clues
If you’ve got online accounts, you’ve probably answered a dozen different security questions, telling your bank or brokerage firm your Mom’s maiden name; the church you were married in; or the name of your favorite song. Got that same stuff on the information page of your Facebook profile? You’re giving crooks an easy way to guess your passwords.

Risky Behaviors
You take your classic Camaro out for street racing, soar above the hills in a hang glider, or smoke like a chimney? Insurers are increasingly turning to the web to figure out whether their applicants and customers are putting their lives or property at risk, according to Insure.com. So far, there’s no efficient way to collect the data, so cancellations and rate hikes are rare. But the technology is fast evolving.

Facebook Posting Should be Taken Seriously

I’m probably going to get a little heat from this post, but I figured I’d write it because I’ve been on facebook and other social networks since most of them began and I’ve learned a few things by watching and reading posts written by other authors. And, this post really is just for authors, not for people who use social networks like facebook and twitter for personal enjoyment.

Most author posts are enjoyable and interesting. They help you find out about their books and tell you where you can purchase them. Other author posts are about personal things, where authors discuss the things they love, from pets to food. One male author is always talking about his love of cupcakes…to the point where I’ve had to go out and get a cupcake after reading his posts. The one thing all these authors have in common is they always post something readers and fans will enjoy. Some talk about the charities they are involved with, which always interests readers.

And then there are other authors who mistake facebook for personal pages. They rant about their family problems, their dysfunctional relationships with their mothers, and how depressed and lonely they are because they don’t have dates. And this always puts me off, especially when they are so blunt about it. I’ve read author posts on facebook that made me blush, and it takes a lot to make me do that.

The point I’m trying to make is that whatever goes down in print usually remains there, whether it’s an e-mail or a facebook post. And sometimes a negative questionable facebook post might be the only thing a potential reader remembers about an author. So if you want to rant about how Aunt Nancy treated you on Thanksgiving, or how much you hate your mother or your significant other, get a different facebook page that’s just for family and friends. You can monitor it and post whatever you like to the people who love you. But on your professional page you should be more careful, because no one really does love you there. They want to love you, but if you make it too difficult they are going to turn their heads and completely ignore you.