I heard recently from a good friend who said that she’d noticed I was getting quite a large internet footprint. Overall I’m pleased about this; the point of joining the social media network was precisely that. I want to make myself visible before any book of mine goes to a publisher. I want to look like an author who is promotable, and who is already doing her own promotion. I want to be someone people have heard about.
At the same time, I’m the gal who doesn’t like to give out information. When people ask if I’m married (unless it’s a social situation) I usually wonder “What difference does it make?” I often say it out loud, especially since I asked that of my group health clinic and found that they file my information under my husband’s name. His name isn’t the same as mine – one more barrier to prompt care in an emergency. I didn’t give them his name, and perforce my files are under my own.
I don’t collect air miles or other kinds of points which are used, in part, to track what you buy. When I moved from Toronto to Elmvale, I was very annoyed at a housemate who gave the landlord my new address. As far as I was concerned, it was none of his business, but when he asked, she obligingly told him. I know, am even related to, other people who do this same thing, give out information on themselves, and others, simply because somebody – anybody – asked. And I do mean anybody – scammers posing as banks, telemarketers, whoever.
I’ve been accused by some of being too close-mouthed, by others of being too open. I suppose it really depends on the position of the person making the accusation. My own opinion is that thinking about what you’re doing is as important as doing it. I’ve come to this conclusion after mislaying my keys, glasses, etc., multiple times by just setting them down without noticing where. Flippancy aside, I still think it’s a good rule of thumb.
For one thing, I’m training myself not to be an old woman who hands over her banking information – or anyone else’s – to a phone scammer. “Why do you need to know? How do I know who you are?” I ask, every time. When someone – even someone on legitimate business – starts with “Who am I speaking to?”, my automatic response is “You called me – who are you?”
Granted, there’s a lot of information about me out there, but if someone wants that information, they have to go through the sources where I’ve revealed it. I try to be selective about what I reveal; I think I’m more or less successful.
Still, I’m committed to that big footprint. I want to be visible, in the light I choose. There’s a dichotomy here – in order to be an effective marketer, I have to be visible. At the same time, I want a certain amount of privacy. It’s a balancing act, and so far I think I’m doing okay, keeping that big footprint on the tightrope.