The importance of online privacy is an emerging issue for the public at large, including writers, read more about why that is here. Recently Newsweek ran an article about American authors, including J.D. Salinger. A photo of the famously reclusive writer shows him in his bedroom. As the article points out, the viewer can’t help noticing the industrial-strength lock on his bedroom door. The image of the lock underscores the way Salinger guarded his privacy ferociously for nearly a half century.
I don’t know whether Salinger owned a computer (we’ll probably find out in the upcoming biography, The Private War of J. D. Salinger, by Shane Salerno and David Shields), nor do I know what he thought about the way most authors go the opposite way today. We typically court publicity (and sales) by using social networking, publicists, and other self-promotion strategies. But I’m sure he would have frowned on the loss of privacy that follows in the wake of becoming “known,” even to a small degree. Before their first published book hits the store shelves, authors are often advised by publishers: Get a web site; get on
With that incident serving as an alarm bell, I started reducing my online footprint. I haven’t gotten to the point where I lock my
Whether you’re a writer or not, here are some things everyone should consider when posting online:
According to the NY Times, burglars have targeted houses based upon people’s Facebook updates.
When you upload a photo that was taken with a
Sometimes one social network can “out” your identity from its sister site without your knowing it. In one example, people who thought they were playing music privately online were actually broadcasting their musical selections to their entire network. More here. So imagine if all your cool friends discovered that you actually listen to Neil Diamond. The horror!
The most recent privacy-scare story I heard came from one of my friends: He joined a service that was supposed to manage all his social networks from a single point of control. His wife was linked to it, and as soon as it was turned on, all his past Tweets, plus every message he’d ever posted to chat boards, started scrolling before her on the screen. These missives included several to women that she considered to be…questionable. The poor guy had to endure a lengthy, detailed grilling about each and every one of them. He never unsubscribed from something so fast, he said!
How about you? Have you had any funny, odd, or horrible stories related to online privacy? Is privacy a big concern of yours?