We’ve all been seeing a rash of Facebook account cloning. You see it when you get a friend request from someone that you’ve already friended. If you have a lot of Facebook friends, you may just think, “Oh, I thought we were already friends,” and accept the invitation. Shortly thereafter, you’ll get a private message from your new friend. It starts out innocuous. “How are you doing?” Then the scam starts. It may take you a while to realize that your friend wouldn’t really be trying to borrow a pile of money or get you to invest in something. By then, it may be too late.
If your account gets cloned, you may think you’ve been hacked. Don’t worry. You haven’t. Nobody’s figured out your password and broken into your account. They just followed these simple steps:
- First, they copy your profile picture and cover photo onto their computer.
- Then they create a new Facebook account using your name and a throwaway email address.
- They set the profile pic and cover photo to the ones they saved from your real account.
- Finally, they click on the “Friends” tab on your real account and start sending friend requests to everyone.
There’s a quick ‘n easy way to prevent that fourth step.
This will bring up a window that includes “Who can see your friends list?” If the button to the right of it says, “Public,” click on it.
I like mine being on “Friends” or “Friends except acquaintances.” That way, when one of my friends is looking for another of my friends on Facebook, they can just go to my friend list and find them. If you prefer nobody being able to see who you’ve friended on Facebook, use the “only me” setting.
When you get a friend request from someone that sets your Spidey-senses a-tingling, don’t just hit that “confirm” button. Search your friends list to see if you’re already friends. Click on their name to see their page. Warning signs of a cloned account are:
- They have hardly any friends, and the ones they have are all people you know as credulous or careless.
- There are no timeline posts and no pictures (other than profile and cover).
- The name and username don’t match (see picture below). This can also happen when you have friends without much computer and/or Facebook experience that don’t know to set their username.
Whenever I get a friend request from someone I think is a scammer with a cloned account, I always report it to Facebook and tell my real friend about it so they can notify their friends to be careful. You might want to do the same!
Haiku: Celebrating Beer in Verse, in which I offer up 26 original poems to beer. Anyone care to add their own?
The response was marvelous, as a couple of my friends jumped in to respond, and we all ended up at Sam’s Taproom (the pub/tasting room attached to our local brewery, Red Lodge Ales).
Be careful, people! Writing beer haiku can lead to laughing, drinking, witty repartee, and hugs.
I’ve edited this only slightly to remove last names, fix the order of things, and take out a few extraneous comments. Other than that, this is what appeared on my Facebook timeline immediately after last night’s blog post:
I really like beer
No, seriously, I do.
Doug writes a haiku
But he stops after two lines
BAH! In the comments section, you have to hit all kinds of Shift+Enter mumbo jumbo to make it format correctly!
Beer, mead, beer, mead, beer
One is sweet, one is bitter
I like both just fine.
Hoppy beer is fine
Malty beer is more my style
Scottish Ale, Porter
Beer is good alone
Beer is better with great friends
Beer is always good
Beer beer beer beer beer
Beer beer beer beer beer beer beer
I love this here beer
Care for a pint sir? Indubitably, I would So, Ale or Lager?
Dan has the same formatting problems I have.
Writing a poem about beer
Can’t find the shift key
Laughing at my pals
Dan, want to go get a beer?
Come pick my ass up.
My Thanksgiving beer
Is all Montana-made beer
I love living here
Gary, you in town?
Dan wants to go get a beer
Sam’s Taproom sounds good.
Sam’s Taproom sounds great
I’d love to join you bozos
But I have some work
Went to the TR
Eating some yummy chicken
pick you up real soon
I think from now on
I will comment in Haiku
On everyone’s wall
But oh my freaking christmas
Haiku can be fun
It is easier
to make comments in Haiku
than to write Limericks
Oh, who needs to work?
I will join you for a pint
Shall I pick you up?
The first to arrive
With him shall I ride to Sam’s
and hoist a beer, CHEERS!
I’m on my way now
If Dan gets there before me
Call and let me know.
To craft an odd sort of verse,
One couldn’t think anything worse
Than fives, fives, and sevens,
about beer (good heavens!),
To me, seems downright perverse.
I don’t understand.
What the hell is a haiku?
You people are nuts.
God is good. Beer is great.
He gave us beer forsooth partake.
With his sun on hops doth shine.
Please back off, THIS beer is mine!
I know…it’s a rhyme, not haiku. Gesundheit!
Seven years ago, when my first Who Pooped in the Park? book was hot off the presses, I cut one up, scanned it, and turned it into a PowerPoint presentation. I have used that slide show many times, and I learn something new every time I give a talk. That, actually, is one of the things I like most about public speaking: if I do it right, I learn as much as my audience does.
Among the things I have learned are:
- Carry props. It keeps the talk more interesting if you can show people something tangible, not just pictures.
- Move. Don’t just park yourself safely behind a lectern. This may be controversial advice, because a lot of speaking coaches will tell you not to wander all over the stage when giving a talk, but my primary audience is children and they bore easily. I move around, point at the slides, hold up props, walk over to audience members and hand them things to pass around. I’ve even been known to demonstrate different gaits.
- Engage the audience. Ask them questions. I like to ask where people are from at the beginning and make references to their home states or countries later during the talk. Address people directly.
- If you expect to sell books after the talk, mention the book. Say something about how and why you wrote it. Put a picture of the cover on one (or more) of your slides. And mention that you’ll be selling and signing books after the talk.
- Make sure you have contact information on one of your slides in addition to having bookmarks or business cards available. That makes it easier for people to send you pictures they took, or invitations to other events. Instead of an email address, consider using your website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and other social media contact methods. You’ll get less spam that way, and you may pick up followers on those sites.
And, to bring this back to the main subject for the day, customize your slide show. I just gave a talk at the National Bighorn Sheep Center in Dubois, Wyoming a few days ago, and we did a book signing afterward. Here’s what I did to customize the PowerPoint presentation:
First, the opening slide. The top half of the slide has the book banner on it. I went to the Sheep Center’s website and grabbed a picture with their logo, added that to the bottom of the slide, and overlaid the date. I set up the projector in advance and left that slide up on the screen as an introduction until the talk started. That way, attendees wouldn’t just think, “oh, this is some generic presentation,” they’d know it was in some way connected to here.
Next, since the Center is all about bighorns, I figured I should insert a picture of a bighorn sheep. When I am doing slide shows, my first preference is always to use a picture I took myself. If I don’t have an appropriate shot, my next stop is either a stock photo house or Wikipedia, so I know I am using the picture legally.
I have an account with a stock photo company from when I published a newspaper. Generally, I am not going to pay $10 or $20 for a picture I am using one time in a slide show, unless it’s absolutely perfect. This stock photo shop, however (Dreamstime) has a free photo section which sometimes has what I need.
Wikipedia (or, more accurately, Wikimedia Commons) has a wealth of photographs that you can use in slide shows without royalties — just check the license.
Since I didn’t have a good bighorn sheep picture of my own, and there weren’t any cheap (or free) at the stock photo house, I picked one up from Wikipedia, overlaid some scat and track photos, and it made a perfect slide.
The local bookstore in Dubois set up and promoted the talk, so I added a “thank you” slide at the end. It’s typically easy to get logos from a store’s website or Facebook page. After they put a bunch of time and effort promoting the talk, it means a lot when you go to the effort of making a slide to thank them.
I am not a “read from my notes” kind of guy. I think it sounds awkward and stilted, and when you are reading from notes you aren’t looking at your audience. If I know my subject matter — and I had better! — then all I need is an outline, to make sure I don’t forget anything important.
That makes it easy to tailor the talk to the audience, since I am speaking extemporaneously anyway. Spending an hour or so customizing the slides makes it look like you have really put forth an effort, and that’s the kind of little thing that gets you invited back.