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Warning: What You Say Online
Might Cost You Some Clients

By Paul Strikwerda
Voice Actor

Free speech is a wonderful thing - as long as you realize who's listening.

Big Brother is following you. He might even be a Facebook friend or a Google Spyder.

Digital Inspiration discovered last month, that:

Googlebots, or the spiders that crawl web pages, are now reading Facebook comments on websites just like any other text content and the more interesting part is that you can also search the text of these comments using regular Google search.

Many sites allow you to use your Facebook profile to leave comments. It's easy and it saves time.

But when you do that, your remarks are linked to your user name and profile picture, and they link back to your Facebook profile.
As CNET's Sharon Vaknin warns:
A Google search for your name may reveal your comments. Since your Facebook account is tied to your (presumably) real name, anyone Googling you may stumble upon your political, religious, or general views expressed in comments you've left across the Web. Consider this when leaving comments using the Facebook Comments platform.
And it's not just your comments that could get you in trouble.
One of my European colleagues had landed a voice over job for a high-end electronics company.
She was thrilled to be associated with such a big name, and she liked the video she had voiced so much, that she put a link up on her blog.
The next day the phone rang. The legal department of the electronics giant asked her to read the fine print in her contract.
It stated that she was not allowed to publicly associate herself with the company and that she could not use any material for promotional purposes.
Even though she removed the link immediately, she never heard from this client again.
Later she told me:
It was just a link to a video that was on the company website. It was in the public domain. What's the big deal? The way I see it, I was creating some free publicity for this company.
It amazed me how quickly the legal department had discovered the link on a blog that wasn't exactly popular.
But it shows that you never know who is watching over your shoulder.

This week, one of my agents received the following message from a casting director:
Agents - it has come to our attention that many actors excited about their auditions, will post notices on Facebook and Twitter.
This weekend, an actor lost a job because the tweet got back to the client on a product that had not been announced. Please ask your actors to not tweet/facebook the products for auditions.
My agent immediately sent an email to all talent:
We know you get excited about auditions and bookings, but please do not tweet, facebook, blog, or share in any way before the finished media is out.
The safest sharing rule for the entertainment industry: only share information on your project AFTER the date of first insertion. No exceptions.
DO NOT announce clients or products for auditions, callbacks or bookings.
DO NOT check in on Facebook.
DO NOT use social media on set.
Remember: You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say can and will be used against you.


Paul Strikwerda is a 25-year veteran of the voice over industry whose Nethervoice service features German and Dutch voice overs, translation and evaluation services. Born in Holland, he has worked for Dutch national and international radio, the BBC and American Public Radio. Although 90% of his work is in English, Strikwerda also records in Dutch, German and French. Clients include Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, and the Discovery Channel. He also publishes an informative and entertaining blog, Double Dutch.  


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Comments (4)
Karen R
12/17/2011 at 6:34 PM
Thanks for sharing, Paul. This is very good to know.
Jay Lloyd
12/16/2011 at 8:24 PM
What excellent advice! My kid and I go round and round about this all the time. She/he is addicted to Facebook and uses it for pleasure, business... everything! And, she/he's of the belief that "privacy is so yesterday; get over it, dad!" And, now Paul has just explained why we should NOT "get over it." In fact, be DOUBLY careful! Don't spill secrets lest it cost you!
Paul Strikwerda
12/16/2011 at 9:00 AM
On Thursday, Facebook started rolling out a revamped profile feature called Timeline that makes a user’s entire history of photos, links and other things shared on Facebook accessible with a single click.

As the New York Times commented: "This may be the first moment that many of Facebook’s 800 million members realize just how many digital bread crumbs they have been leaving on the site — and on the Web in general."
Roy Wells
12/16/2011 at 7:12 AM
You have once again hit the hammer upon the nail, Paul. I am quite sure that I lost a potentially good client by becoming enmeshed in similar situations which you describe so well.
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