Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What happened to Nameless?

I'm thinking of retiring my alias.

Nameless Wonder, and variations thereof, has been my primary internet alias for probably about eight years now.

I am an active internet persona. I don't know how else to describe it. I sign up on a lot of websites and post in a lot of places. It's easiest for me to use the same username over and over so I don't have to remember them. Not the most secure method, I suppose, but these are not major sites. To lose those accounts would not mean much to me personally.

But, like a lot of people, I post some fairly personal information, if not particularly identifying. Imagine my surprise when I got an email this morning from someone who had followed some links, Googled an old username of mine, and found a reference on a current journal that I maintain on another website. I submitted a request to have the cached result removed from Google, since I've edited the entry to remove the referenced name & URL that probably lead this person to me. They seemed pretty harmless, just verbose. It was still kind of freaky. At first I thought they were someone I interacted with online ten years ago, who in a way became a bit of an internet stalker, but no, just another person who identified with my teenage-self.

I wonder what kind of steps popular bloggers take to protect their identity. It was off-putting enough just having someone find another snippet of me on the internet, from a username that I retired so long ago. I can't imagine what it would be like to receive mail to my home or have my relatives contacted because of something I wrote online.

Though there was that time I received some brochures about Texas not long after talking about how it might be nice to live there (before they passed some absurd anti-abortion laws).

I'm not nameless anymore. I share my first name, at the very least, with internet friends pretty regularly now. Since getting married last year, I feel more secure in my name than ever. My last name was never part of the issue of me feeling like I didn't have a concrete identity, but changing it helped me realize how I am becoming who I want to be. It was an act of reclamation in some ways.

I have no idea what will happen to this blog. I barely post nowadays anyway. I am finally more interested in my own life than sharing with others what's going on with it. I seek validation from others, but it's not going to help me attain my goals unless this became some kind of source of income. That's unlikely, I'm fairly boring and not good at networking.

Anyway, all I know right now is I'm going to start being more careful about the information I put online. I also need to come up with some easy to remember throw-away usernames for the odd sites I sign up on. The LastPass application will probably help with that, so I don't even have to remember my password!

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