Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Personally, too much information is not a good thing

Some call it TMI.

Too much information.

Usually, it's a punch line or a conversation stopper. But in this case, it has to do with dealing with the public.

One of the downsides of this business is that there are a lot of whack jobs and creeps out there among the great unwashed masses. And every night some of those people from the shallow end of the gene pool are watching you. It's inevitable that some of these people will contact you... or worse.

I've had plenty of clients with stalkers. One had to move, another needed a restraining order. This is mostly a problem for women, especially the single ones who move to a new area and don't know anyone.

There's nothing you can do to stop people from contacting you. But there are steps you can do to discourage this. And the biggest ones are the ones most visible to the public. Put out too much information of the wrong kind and you're just asking for trouble.

I've seen station bios with stuff like this. "She loves spending her Sunday's walking on the boardwalk." Well, when you put stuff like that on the Internet, you've just told a stalker where to find you. "She's single and hoping to meet Mister Right." Yikes. I cringe when I see an anchor say stuff like, "Jennifer is on vacation this, so filling in..." You've just told the world someone is out of town, ringing the dinner bell for burglars... or a stalker who could break in to your place while you're away.

There's too much information... and then there's the right kind of information to protect yourself. Stuff that might give a stalker pause to back off.

-Keep your station bio vague, but add a scary detail or two. "When she's not working she enjoys playing with her pit bull Max."

-If you're single, you need a man in your life, even if he's an imaginary one. Several years ago I recorded an answering machine message for a female co-worker that started like this: "We're not home right now..." Any stalker who gets your phone number and calls will immediately know there's a guy in the picture.

-If you're into social networking, add a tough guy into the picture. Your significant other might be a Navy Seal, a linebacker, or a cop. If you don't want to scare the normal guys away, the person sharing your apartment could be your brother.

-Visit a pawn shop and buy a fake engagement ring. I recently had one client do just that. Problem solved. And when you're on camera, hold your mike with your left hand so viewers can see the ring.

-If you receive any emails or snail mail of a suspicious nature, tell management and file a police report. If it's snail mail you should also call the postal inspector. You'll need to nip it in the bud before things get worse.

-Take a self defense class. Pick up a can of pepper spray. Lock your doors at all times.

Remember, your privacy is your most precious asset. In a world in which everything seems to be available online, it's imperative that you not put too much information out there.

TVNEWSGRAPEVINE, copyright 2011 © Randy Tatano


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