On Privacy

The past few months have been introspective for many reasons. During this time, I’ve admittedly googled myself quite a bit (I think it was to see how the new people meeting me would potentially view me), and my findings were disconcerting. My Twitter account ranked highly as expected. Full of tasteless jokes and inane conversations with friends, it sat there unused for months. My Tumblr was surprisingly as well-ranked. I wont get into the contents of that blog.

My predicament wasn’t just that some potentially embarrassing social media posts would be seen, but that these accounts along with the dozens of other web accounts were sitting there dormant. Each one caked with dust, misrepresenting the person I am now.

I began running a script that deletes as many tweets as are available every 15 minutes. This helped quell my anxiety over being misrepresented as it pushed my tweet cound from 27k down to 17k (well into 2011). I later purged my Tumblr of all content. From there I began hunting down all of my googleable accounts and deleting them when I can. When I can’t, I obfuscate them enough to not be linked directly to me.

About being misrepresented; it’s my biggest pet peeve. Often, I find myself in conversation, explaining and reexplaining my point, desperately trying to ensure my meaning is crystal clear. The notion that my old (read: now inaccurate) ideas would potentially represent me, to anyone curious enough to look, terrifies me.

My personal circumstances also helped me realize that my privacy is important and precious. I’ve given it away for over a decade to anyone with a computer. My privacy has lost it’s value.

I grew up thinking that one should maintain their integrity at all costs. It’s the only thing one truly has. By spending the last 15+ years posting/tweeting/sharing/liking nearly anything that tickled me, I’ve muddied whatever integrity I may have cultivated in my 31 years. This circles back to the idea of misrepresentation.

In the future, I intend on being more deliberate with my online life. The older I become, the more this virtual existence is a “representation of me” as opposed to the “reaction against others” that it was previously.

While I’ve already done the bulk of the work, some outliers remain. As higher ranking accounts fade away, deeper, more embarrassing accounts will surface. Hopefully I can remember my passwords.