by Ken Walker

Judging by the email strings I receive via the Christian PEN and another network of independents, freelance writers and editors have two things in common:

  1. Many can’t afford the latest technological toys, be that $999 smart phones or expensive software licenses.
  2. Many tend to remain satisfied with tools of the past.

I especially understand the latter inclination. There was nothing wrong with Windows 7. In fact, I would give my eyeteeth to go back to it. For that matter, there was nothing wrong with XP.

However, no matter how grudgingly you come to the dance, it behooves any editor to stay informed about technological tools and advances.

When the European Union freaked out about Facebook’s privacy issues, it touched off a worldwide panic over the need for everyone to include a privacy statement on their website.

At first, I shrugged my shoulders: Who cares? Fortunately, the woman who maintains my website acted proactively—writing a statement, sending it to me to review, and then posting it. Whew!

More recently, I discovered the need to pay close attention to shady characters operating on line. They are out there 24/7.

A couple months ago, my old ink jet printer died. It was a back-up to my laser printer, but whenever I wanted a color copy of something, it came in handy. So I headed to Walmart to replace it. Once back home, had I been more attuned to Windows 10 nuances, I would have known that it wasn’t necessary to download printer software—I could just plug it in. When I connected to the websites listed in the material that came with the printer, I wasn’t paying close enough attention to what I was doing. So, when someone who contacted me via the phony site I clicked on offered to install the software, I thought maybe this was a new way of doing business.

Later, a woman on the other end of the line told me they were having problems completing the installation because of intrusions on my home network. It could be resolved by purchasing a $300 security package, she said. Only then I did recognize I was dealing with scammers. Scammers who could now have all my sensitive information. I quickly instructed my wife to change the password on our bank accounts (fortunately, no one struck before we could do that).

Then, I lost several hours changing passwords for my email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et. al. Believe me, I hated doing that. Yet I now appreciate the need to make such password re-sets an ongoing practice—at least every six months, if not quarterly.

With everyone from petty thieves to international powers like Russia and China trolling the online world, better to be safe than sorry. Better to be alert to what you’re doing when you venture out into cyberspace. I feel dumb admitting what I did. But hopefully it will help another editor out there.

Experienced. Award-winning. Skilled. For years, Ken Walker has been shaping stories—thousands of them—for books and articles in various venues. He uses his writing and editing talent now to help edit and refine authors’ material, as well as coaching bloggers and other writers on how they can improve their material. In recent years Ken has co-authored or edited more than a dozen health-oriented books. This specialty began with co-authoring Winning the Food Fight, a book that emerged from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, an Emmy-Award-winning mini-series on ABC.