I am Jack's Smirking Revenge

little, yappy dogs

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Webstalking is fun!


I am your frienly neighborhood webstalker.

How am I different than a creepy webstalker?

Well, a creepy webstalker is someone who has some unsavory intent, right?

A lot of people online are blissfully ignorant of the concept of at least attempting to obscure their identity.

When I first started on bulletin boards back in the mid 80's, most of the online world then was quiet and safe, and you could get access on a BBS without any contact information or anything- completely anonymously. That sentiment has rolled forward with me for many years, and while I have let my guard down a bit, it's only now in this day and age when there are literally billions of people online. I am not rich, famous, or keeping the secret to eternal life. It's likely nobody reads my blog except for a few friends, and if someone decided to webstalk me, well, I am just one of many: white, 5 foot 9, brown hair- someone stalking me would be spooky only in that it seems so unlikely.

Anyway, back to the blissfully unaware. If you put your actual name in your e-mail address... that's a bad idea, unless it is a common name, like Lisa Smith or Richard Davis or something. If your name is uncommon, you are exceedinly easy to webstalk, and as such, ought to make sure not to use your real name if you wish to ensure some level of privacy. Hint: websites like myspace and facebook do not protect your real name.

I seem to be going off on a tangent here... that's ok.

My point is: if I am webstalking you, it's because you're an old friend of mine that I want to talk to- or, in a rare case, I will webstalk someone to show them that they are being foolish with their personal information. An example of that- I bought something on craigslist a while back, and the seller replied to me from their personal address which was their uncommon last name. When I picked the item up, I mentioned to them then, in person, the 'danger' of doing that kind of thing. I told them "In many cases, a person can google all kinds of things about you just by knowing your name and roughly where you live.", not "I did google all kinds of things about you, just to see if I could."

I feel like I am providing a public service announcement for online safety.

Everyone should have a spare e-mail address for doing business which does not have any google-able content associated with it. Two bonuses to this- when it gets overrun with spam you can just delete it, and also, you do not mix up business correspondence with personal.

It may seem like a deviant thing to do- webstalking people- but I think you should assume that everyone does it, and that any information you put online is susceptible to a nosy websurfer, and post/not post it accordingly.


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