Who are you online?

I like permanence. Six years ago I bought my own domain primarily so I’d never have to change my email address ever again. I almost had separation anxiety when my employer gave me a mobile phone, meaning that I had to stop using my old number. We still have the same license plate number that I had when I got my first car 15 years ago. I don’t like it when I have to adapt. The internet has gone a long way to messing that up.

With every new technology that the web throws at us we end up with more and more disparate identities, accounts and places where our stuff is kept by other people. I can’t remember how many different websites and services I’ve signed up to over the years, let alone what passwords I would have used, and I know I’m not alone in that. I’ve started documenting these things of late, but they’re still a mess.

In the late 90s there were a few different attempts by vendors to become the single sign-on service for the entire internet, ten years later we’re still not much closer to achieving that, despite the good work of the OpenID proponents. The idea of single sign-on also brings with it a series of trust and privacy issues, who do you want having control of your information?

All of this doesn’t even begin to touch on the ideas of anonymity or authentication, which are also central to online identities. I’ve never gone to great lengths to hide my identity, although I have felt some responsibility to perhaps censor information about my family, the kids in particular. Since I started writing for Pure Poison everything there has been under my own name, as has my twitter account, so now I wonder what to do here?

Dave from Albury is mostly me, but with a few doses of hyperbole or fiction thrown in as poetic license has demanded, so would it matter if I started posting under my own name? I’m still undecided, but as an interim step I’ve started to align any online stuff under a common name, dfg77, so this blog, twitter, my as yet almost unused tumblr and even my email share the same handle.

Getting my online identities organised is not straight forward, there are at least nine different usernames that I know I’ve used since signing up for my very first rocketmail.com account in 1995, but it’s something that seems worth doing.

5 thoughts on “Who are you online?

  1. Your ID issues are trivial compared to my concern for whether I still have a location to go to share an occasional coffee on my interstate trips. What if the compound self detructs after the final siren?

  2. I became cosmicjester online because back when I was signing up for hotmail, I wanted to avoid an address with a whole bunch of numbers at the end. It took me a while to find a nickname that no-one else had, and I’ve stuck with it since.

  3. I’ve been Gauky_1976 for as long as I can remember on the internet. Childhood nickname and year of birth seemed like an all purpose name for all manner of things on the ‘web.

    From my email address to my nickname on everything from Facebook to Twitter and all points in between. I’ve kept it for this long and probably do so for many years to come, as if I changed it, I would probably forget what I changed it too!!

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