Back in the day, it was cool to belong to 7 different IM services and blog everywhere, net presence was in.. well now it really isn’t, there is too much powerful marketing software out there and social networks that love to use it to sell to others, pass out freely, send you spam, advertise you with targeted ads, all kinds of craziness! Am I being paranoid? No, I just don’t want people passing out my information to everyone without my permission..
Did I give them permission? Maybe not directly, but by using sites such as MobileMe/DotMac, MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo/YIM/360, Skype, MSN/Live/Spaces, ICQ, Aim/AOL, Naymz, Plaxo, LinkedIn, hi5, Google/Gtalk, Jabber, and a whole slew of others out there, well part of their whole reason for existing is for their own marketing purposes, they want to make money off their peeps. Sure there are options to hide your info and make your profile private, but these are usually buried somewhere in the account settings and you have to go through quite a bit of mouseclicks to reach them, or in some cases, delete your profile completely.
It’s a two-step process really. First, you have to go in and update all your information so that it is BLANK or reset to defaults. Then wait a few days for it to cycle through their databases so that everything is up to date, then, finally, go in and delete yourself as needed. You see what happens when you just go in and disable or leave stranded any account chock full of information? Well they can just leave that public info in there and accessible to anyone who can cleverly dig it out!
So, I have made some efforts recently to clear my online presence so to speak. No, I don’t have anyone stalking me, I’m not worried about fans coming to my door or that sort of bother (who would make such a trek to get here anyway? LOL)
Anyway, if you see that I am suddenly off the radar or gone from where I once was reachable online, don’t take it personally, we are probably still friends in whatever sense of real or virtual life we were before I removed said blog, IM, service, or social networking site from my repertoire 😉
Not only does hiding your profile make you immune from most companies and identity thieves from stealing said information, it also prevents that crazy webcam girl friend of a friend of a friend down the network from grabbing said info and spamming you, so, you may say I am doing my friends a favor by helping to keep THEIR information private as well 🙂
Comments are open, for those that want to comment on this topic 🙂 PS: Thanks Rob ‘Califzeph’ for starting this whole thing by helping me secure my Facebook page.. I had no idea what Facebook was up to before I read all the bad press about their privacy changes lately!