Do You Own Your Name?

This might sound like an odd question, but in the world of the Internet, it's not. If you are in business, or if you're an author, your name is out there, not just the name of your company or book. That means it is in your best interest to own it everywhere possible.

By now, most people know about the popularity of Facebook and usually accounts are in their name or, if female, name plus maiden name is common too. If you've done that, great!

But what about the others? Do you own your name on Twitter? Maybe. How about YouTube? That's right YouTube. I hadn't really thought about YouTube until one of my mentors mentioned it's definitely a place where you want to own your name if you can. So now I do. I will likely promote via YouTube in the future, now I can do it using my own name in the link if I choose to. The next one I need to check is LinkedIn, but I'm pretty sure I've seen another Cheryl Pickett come up in searches linked to that site.

Now some of you might be saying, 'but I don't ever intend to use some of those sites'. That's fine, not everything is right for everybody. If you're building an online presence though, you can help keep continuity by owning your name and not letting someone else build a reputation people might confuse for yours (whether it's good or bad).

If you have a really unusual name, you might not have to worry much about others taking your spot, and if you have a super common name, you're probably out of luck already, but somewhere in between, you might want to do some investigation. If all you do is open an account with the big three (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter), at least you have it for the future, even if you aren't ready to jump in this minute.

So now it's your turn to share- where do you own your name? Did you miss out anywhere with the basic first/last, how did you handle it?

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Children's Books Falling Victim to Better Education?

I found this interesting, somewhat disheartening article in the NY Times recently. Basically, it says picture books are no longer as popular as they once were and that they are actually on a downward trend. The interesting and honestly, surprising part to me, was that this downward trend is not so much due to videos and other electronic media (though that's part of it), but rather people's belief picture books are too easy to read. Many think kids as young as four should be reading simple chapter books, not ones filled with pictures and little text.

While I am in absolute agreement that in general the U.S. education system is severely lacking in many ways, I can't subscribe to this line of thinking at this point. I believe picture books are a valuable, useful tool well beyond 3 or 4. Those that are done well help readers match words and ideas to visual design. Many are masterful works of art and can encourage the pursuit of drawing, painting and illustrating for many age groups. As an adult, I still love finding an artfully done picture book and if the words are secondary, that's not a bad thing. In addition, picture books can be quite complex requiring the reader to understand word play through pictures or to find hidden meanings or solve puzzles.

To say that the only good option to advance kids' reading skills at the preschool and kindergarten level is through books with minimal pictures is misguided in my opinion. Exposing them to a wide variety of things to read throughout their lives on the other hand can only create a well-rounded reader and hopefully a life-long reader too.

What do you think?

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett