Monday, November 18, 2019

How to Stay Safe on Social Networking Sites

Communication through social networks has grown exponentially over the years.  An important part of life for many people, this is due to growing communities online that have helped businesses and peoples interests to grow. 

Many businesses today couldn't survive without a link to the outside world via social media.  With all of the perks social media affords, it's really easy to forget the risks that are often overlooked.

Many risks that include stalking, bullying, criminal activity, identity theft and hacking.

Users and businesses need to follow some basic safety tips that are simple to remember and highly effective.

1. Don't Overshare on Social Media

Even when you own a business, sharing personal details to make yourself more human, becomes a primary part of your branding.  Its okay to share a little bit of information about yourself, but for personal safety's sake keep your personal details such as; birthday, place of birth, home address, and phone number to yourself.  Sharing any of these details puts you at risk of identity theft and fraud.  Leaving credit cards lying around, and accidentally including them in photos or videos leaves you wide open to crimes ranging from identity theft to stalking.

2. Modify Your Privacy Settings

All social networking sites include default privacy settings, which are great to a point, but often not quite enough to keep you safe.  By altering your privacy settings you can stop certain people from seeing your private information, or have the ability to unfriend people you're not sure of.  These settings are helpful because they allow you to have better control as to what you want your friends and followers to see, and what the public sees.  These adjustments must be made via the account holder and nobody else.

3. Restrict Information About Your Work History

LinkedIn is a popular social networking site that allows you to post personal information about your work history, which gives hackers and criminals insight into that person's life, which may help them to hack into someone's account.  The information taken is usually used in identity theft.

4. Confirm Who You're Connecting To

People use false accounts for numerous reasons.  You can usually tell by looking into a person's account if they're real or not.  Many accounts are setup to misrepresent someone else or to make false statements about somebody in order to discredit them.  Most false accounts are created to send people to malicious sites with the intent of committing fraud.

5. Moderate Your Comments - Beware of Impersonators

People impersonating other people is a big problem online, often you don't know who is who.  Fortunately social network sites ask users to authenticate who they are and whether they are registered or not.  You're also able to ask unwanted people to be removed.

6. Don't Overshare

These people love sharing every part of their life to the public, not realising who may be watching.  For thieves and hackers its ideal territory to look for their next victim.  You're daily or weekly whereabouts should never be shared, especially if you're going on holiday or already on holiday.

7.  Investigate Your Own Account

Try searching for your account from the public's point of view.  This way your able to see what the public and other users see.  You can also see if anyone has an account setup using your name.

8. Understand Your Employers Acceptable Use and Boundaries Policies

Many people discover to their horror that they've lost their job because of their activities on social media.  All of this can be avoided by asking your employer or reviewing your employer's policies in your place of work.  Many of these policies involve what the user is sharing in terms of photos, or writing.  Employer's do this to protect their own reputation, but to also prevent loss of intellectual property, and data loss.

9. Understand How Your Information is Shared with Outside Sources

All social networking sites use their users information to share details with advertisers, partners and other outside companies.  Reading and understanding the privacy policy of any social networking platform will tell you exactly where your information is going.  Most people skip the small print and just agree to everything before they've even looked at the privacy terms.  These details should be looked into more thoroughly in case the company goes to a new owner, and the policies change.

10. Be Careful Who You Friend

Take the time to look over other peoples profiles before you friend them.  Having hundreds and thousands of followers looks good, but it also opens you up to negative behaviour such as spamming, and people with criminal intentions who want to take advantage of your account and followers.

11. Look Into Smaller Social Networking Sites

Sites such as Twitter and Facebook are great, but if you're looking for something a little smaller and more intimate try Ning, FamilyLeaf, or MeetUp.  Some of these smaller networks allow you to attract like-minded people in your own community.

12. Try Open ID for a Safer Log In

Open ID is a platform created to reduce the risk of passwords getting into the hands of hackers and thieves.  Allowing you to manage many accounts.

13. What Happens Online Stays Online

When you create images, and blog posts online is permanent unless you decide to remove the link early on.  Otherwise its there permanently for all to see.  This means your information can be captured by screen shot and used on other websites or news sites.  For many people this can be harmful for relationships, future job prospects, and vulnerability online.

14. How to Block Unfriendly Followers

All social networks allow users to protect themselves from unwanted attention, by simply hitting the block button.  Once you've blocked your unwanted guest, he/she will no longer be able to have any interaction with you or your profile.

15. Make Your Passwords Complicated

Any account you use online should be given a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols to stop thieves from getting into your account.  Passwords should be changed regularly, and especially when a threat is found.

I'd love to hear your experiences with online safety in the comments below.

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Monday, November 11, 2019

Understanding Infinitives

How to Identify an Infinitive When You Find One

Infinitives nearly always start with to followed by the simple form of a verb

  • To read
  • To cry
  • To shout
  • To fly
  • To drink
  • To eat

To + Verb = Infinitive

Note: Infinitives aren't verbs, don't ever add s, es, ed , or ing. 

You can use infinitives as adverbs, adjectives, or nouns.

For example:

To rest is the only thing Laura wants after her shift waiting tables at the local restaurant.

To rest serves as a noun because it is the subject of the sentence.

No matter how interesting the operation is, David turns his head and refuses to look.

To look works as a noun because it is the direct object for the verb refuses.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Why Your Eyes Are the Best Spell Checker

Why You Shouldn't Trust Your Spell Checker

Spelling and grammar checkers have become everyday tools for lots of writers.  Counting on these writing tools is fraught with danger, that many writers don't think of.

The constraint of traditional spellcheckers is typified in the much quoted poem "Ode to the Spell Checker".

Eye halve a spelling checker
It came with my pea sea.
It plainly marks four my revue miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a quay and type a word and weight for it to say
Weather eye yam wrong oar write.
It shows me strait a weigh as soon as a mist ache is maid.
It nose bee fore two long and eye can put the error rite.
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it,
I am shore your pleased to no.
Its letter perfect awl the way.
My checker told me sew.

- Jerrold H. Zar

Monday, October 28, 2019

Why You Should Consider Ghostwriting

Blog post updated 28/10/2019.

The World of Ghostwriting

Many well known authors live a double life, one under their real name and the other as a ghostwriter.

You may well ask, why do they ghostwrite?  The obvious answer is the money, and being paid a fair rate for their much needed skill as a writer.  Sounds crazy in a time when authors are struggling to earn a decent crust from book sales, that anyone would want to write under someone else's name.

Journalists can also be counted alongside the many ghostwriters working today.  Many magazines and publications are halving their running costs by letting staff go. Ghostwriters need to produce manuscripts quickly, gather information from all manner of sources and people, in order to write their book manuscripts.

Ghostwriters can be found in fiction, from H.P. Lovecraft to Raymond Benson (Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell).  This kind of fictional writing takes time to perfect, and doesn't happen overnight.

Monday, October 21, 2019

How to Setup an Effective Social Media Profile

Why You Should Spend Time Setting Up Your Social Media Profiles Properly

It's really important to send a consistent message throughout all of your social media profiles, not only does it show you mean business, but it also shows o your followers that your consistent in what you do.

Putting together profiles on all of your accounts can seem pretty scary, because each platform requires its own separate personality and profile requirements.

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Essential Proofreading and Editing Guide

What's the Difference Between Proofreading and Editing? 

It doesn't matter what kind of writer you are, proofreading and editing are a key part of the process.  If you're not already familiar with these terms, both are used to improve grammar and punctuation, before work is sent to be published.

We're going to make clear the difference between editing, proofreading, and how to work with the text in the points below.

What is Editing?

Copyediting as it is called includes the improvement of text composition, spelling and punctuation, and style. 

Monday, October 07, 2019

10 Best Online Copywriting Courses

Copywriting is one of the most valuable skills to have as a blogger and writer, and will  bring in more sales, followers and new customers to your website than any other kind of writing.

Originally used for print and TV ads, mainly used today online to engage customers and readers with the use of e-books, social media posts, landing pages and on thousands of websites worldwide.

Useful for building blog readership, social media accounts and readers into customers.  Which is why new copywriting skills should be honed and learnt, and current skills should be kept up-to-date with the latest online courses and classes in order to keep things fresh.

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Email Marketing Guide

Since the internets inception, email marketing has always been there, and is still one of the most effective ways to connect readers, and turn them into potential customers.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is the delivery of advertising messages via email.  The majority of internet users have email accounts that receive unlimited messages daily, making it one of the cheapest and easiest way for marketers to connect with their customers.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Copywriting, What's It All About?

Copywriting, not to be confused with copyright, is the ability to write words that sell.

Every time you pick up a magazine, read a paper, or click on an advertisement, that's all clever copy.

Copyright is something entirely different and simply means a company or individual has the legal right to publish, reproduce, or distribute someones work.

Do You Need Qualifications to Be a Copywriter?

The simple answer is no, all you need is a laptop and internet connection to start your copywriting career.  Learning from other copywriter's through courses may also help you along the way.

Monday, September 16, 2019

How to Write a Helpful Article in 5 Steps

Writing a helpful article can be a real frustration at times.  What seems like such a simple task can turn into nothing short of  a nightmare.

Even with all the good intentions in the world, having notes written down can quickly become a muddled mess of thoughts.