I had a frightening realization the other night: Anyone could find me right now, if they wanted. And I'm not talking about sites where you pay for information (though, it's possible through them, also).
I use my full name for my writing because there are a million Jennifer Jacksons out there (possibly more) and many of them write and/or use social media. A pseudonym gets complicated and would undo most, if not all, of the branding I've done so far.
My state is something I supply readily but a few publications print the name of your town. I've been published in two places that give my hometown. Now, it wouldn't be a big deal if I lived in Milwaukee, let's say, or another metropolis but I don't. My town is fairly small.
If you walked around town showing my photograph (which I provide because people like to "see" their writers) and asked after me, you will eventually run into someone who can tell you about where I live, like to go, or who my family members are.
This is scary. In an effort to be personable online, I have given (freely) every key someone would need. The bad part is, once it's out, you can't put it back in.
Think about everything you've posted on your blog or social sites. I bet you've talked about your hobbies, children (maybe even posted pictures), your employment history, favorite hangouts, huge events, and more. You give out much more information than you realize.
Remember, if someone has your name and you're listed in your phone book, anyone can find your number and address on the internet (even international people). And, if you host a giveaway, the receiving person will have whatever return address you list. Be careful!
As for me, I don't know. I mean, I have no money for someone to want. I am not famous enough for fans (much less obsessed ones). So, I hope I'm O.K. or, most importantly, my family is.
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