Saturday, June 2, 2012

Trust technology - but not too much: My Goodreads cautionary tale

When I was a reporter and I conducted interviews by phone, I always took notes by hand. Sometimes, I recorded them, too, but I always had those handwritten notes.

The new reporters would shake their heads. "Just type the interview into your file," they'd say. "You're wasting time." Then our archaic computer system would crash and all their notes would be lost. So next time they'd write it down.

But I got lazy. My computer system got more reliable. Technology became more advanced, and I started relying on more complex databases.

Recently, I learned my lesson.

When I started promoting Death on Deadline, I went on to the popular Goodreads site and made lots of friends. I started a blog. I got a decent number of reviews - I even had fans - quite a coup for me. But I never thought about saving any of the information. After all, it was a high-tech database, right? What could happen??

But one day, I logged on, and it was all gone. Everything. My blog, my fan base, my reviews: gone. I was in shock. Teary, even. And I hadn't kept a list of anyone's names to see who followed me. I hadn't kept a backup.

I frantically contacted their help desk, and they were very nice. There was a glitch, they said. It happens. They were very sorry. They managed to get some of my reviews back, but all my blog followers and fans were gone.

So I started over. I have two.

Live and learn.

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