It's amazing how much information about me is online.
I've got friends who will gladly pay to have someone remove everything about them that can be accessed via Google Search. They don't want to come up at all in a Google Search result page.
Today, I'm going to show you an excellent way of managing your online identity.
- No one is anonymous online. If you want to post something online or insult someone online and don't want it traced to you, be assured that you are embarking on an impossible mission. Everything online can be traced to the exact time, the source, and source's location. Even if you are anonymous. Or xxxgeye_tthhe. Whatever you don't want traced to you, don't put online.
- The online world is just an extension of the offline world. So it's just as real as the world you interact with outside internet. You shouldn't think of taking up another identity online. You might end up doing more damage than you can imagine or manage.
- Hackers aren't interested in you. I know it sounds strange, especially coming from a tech geek like me. But it's the truth. None of my accounts online has ever been hacked. Online security is not more complicated than offline security. The best security is going to secure places only. Just as I won't try to visit a friend in Borno state, there are some places online you shouldn't visit. No hacker will single you out for attack. And thanks to our online reputation, no hacker will be proud to say he hacked a Nigerian's account. Not even Goodluck Jonathan's.
- Stop trying to be famous online. Now some of you might call me a hypocrite, since it looks like that's what I'm trying to do. Here's the reason behind the statement. I see a lot of people wasting time they could put to productive use tweeting and trying to amass followers on twitter. I think that's the new form of brain drain we are experiencing. I have a combined twitter followers of over 6,000. I got 5,000 of those followers without posting more than 50 posts manually. Over 90% of my twitter posts are automated and system generated. When you try to be famous online, you'll only end up being everywhere and getting nowhere. You'll waste valuable time, internet resources and your device's battery. I care about very few of those 6,000 followers. I'm only focusing on creating value through my blog. My goal online is not to be famous, but to express myself and discover things that might interest me.
- Background check. Some people won't do anything creative online because of fear of a possible background check when they finally get the opportunity to join their dream company. I have no facts or anything beyond my intuition to comment on this. The main reason I'm this very transparent online is because my online life is just an extension of my offline life. If you find me unfit for your job or business based on the online me, then you will find me unfit if you meet only the offline me.
- Stalkers. No one enjoys an experience with a stranger who seems to know everything about you, who had spent days searching the internet for your details. Most times people do this because they find you interesting and just want to know all they could about you. Then there's the risk of a few who would want to use what they find against you. Especially if you are running for a political office. There are two ways I handle this: (1) I don't plan running for any political office and (2) I really don't care about what people do. The urge to discover myself and try out all that interest me has made me insensitive to the vulnerabilities my online activities create.
- Treat emails as physical letters. If you won't type and print your account details, then go to the post office, buy an envelope, put inside the envelope the paper with your printed account details and pay for stamp to post it to a stranger/company who sent you a mail asking for your account details. Then don't send emails with your account details to anyone you don't know. There is no free money online. What you won't do with letter mails, don't do with emails.
- Finally, be courteous online. Don't be rude or insult people just because they can't physically reach you. It's not that doing so will get you into trouble. It's because what is not right is not right. Be respectable, both online and offline.