Over the past few days, the blogosphere has exploded. It all started with an article about an author who stalked a reviewer who had given a less than stellar review. Since then I've heard several stories about other reviewers who had had a similar experiences: one where the reviewer was attacked while picking up her child from school and one where a reviewer was attacked at her place of work. It's led to a lot of uncertainty and fear among bloggers. There have been a few bloggers who have stopped blogging altogether and others who are now considering not posting any negative reviews so they don't incur the wrath of an angry author.
Bloggers should do what feels right to them, but there are a few things you can do to help protect yourself online. Remember the internet is wonderful and dangerous at the same time. Here are a few tips:
1. Change your settings to private on facebook and twitter. This will ensure that only the people you want can view your updates.
2. Turn off any app that discloses your location. Facebook and Twitter have a feature that can show your location. You have to go into your security settings and uncheck the box to turn it off.
3. Be careful who you give out your information to. Do some research on anyone (author or publisher) you're not familiar with. If you're unconformable giving out your address, ask for a pdf instead. Think about joining netgalley or edelweiss or getting a PO Box.
4. If you own your domain, go to whois(dot)com or whois.domaintools.com and type in your url. This shows you if your domain is registered to private.
5. Go to Whitepages.com and enter your information. If anything comes up you can hide or delete your info. You have to create an account, but once you do, it's easy to change. (Thanks to Savannah @ Books With Bite for pointing this out.)
While doing these things can't stop anyone with a nefarious purpose, it will not make it easy for them either.
I also want to reassure people that although these particular authors have crossed WAY over the line, most authors are not like this. And I think those are the ones we need to celebrate.
*If you have any other ideas to add to the list, please leave it in the comments.