My struggles with social networking for business and ensuing discussions with colleagues and associates has prompted social-media-savvy Dan Mesnik to offer up some very helpful websites. Here are the links:
These primarily focus on Facebook for all its pluses and minuses, but they shed good light on the importance of social media. (Even our politicians have FB and Twitter accounts, whether they really know how to use them or not. Then again, they can afford to hire staff that know how. See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/aug/04/newt-gingrich-twitter )
Basically, an author, filmmaker, or business (especially an up-and-comer) will be hard-pressed to succeed without signing on with social media. But, what are the risks for hacking and identity theft?
I recently received emails from a stand-up comedian and poet I occasionally work with. Porcupine Smith (yes, that's his real name) reported that because of Facebook, someone hacked and 'took over' both his Facebook and related email account. Porc found it impossible to contact anyone at Facebook or his email provider to report the incidence, for Facebook has no help desk number to call, only a hard-to-find 'report an incident' function on its site. Frustrated beyond belief, Porc wound up shutting down his Facebook page and lost 1200 'friends' on his network. For a performer and writer, this has critical impact. Even mega 'dot coms' like Amazon, eBay, and PayPal have a customer service number! So does AOL! Why is it that the social media sites don't offer live voice or live chat troubleshooting services? Probably because members are not PAYING customers.
Knock on wood, nothing major has happened to this social media user's accounts, save the occasional spam and 'spoofing' of my screen name. In those events, I immediately change my password and report the incident via email to the spoof and spam report centers of my email providers. Whenever I get spammed on FB, I hit their 'report spam' button and remove the offending 'friend' and their posts or tagged photos. Does it really do anything? I can't say, but I know that to let it discourage and defeat me isn't the answer.
Facebook, like any enormous beast, has its nature. If we're to be in bed with it, we'd better learn to live with it.