Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to maintain your Internet Identity even when you're dead

Those in the cosplay community already know this "Heather Mikayle" character trending in the internet as the infamous impostor of Saya, the famous cosplayer who was reported to have died recently, according to her FB fan page.  Identity theft in the internet is nothing new because anyone can just log in and give themselves an identity, even if someone else already owned it.

But I wont be talking about Heather, there are enough blogs by everyone, including established news networks, to read and discuss about (Google it if you really want to know more).  Right now I'm actually fascinated about one thing: how to make sure people wont steal your identity, even when you're dead.  I've thought about a few things, based on experience and some forward thinking, and other than trying to be famous or infamous.  I'll try to sum it up as simple and short as possible.

  1.  Try to keep a few online identities as possible.  I only go as two names in the internet: my real name (thank you Facebook) and my internet handle (eva_guy01).  But I often use the latter since it has already been established online, particularly in the community I'm involved in.  I only use my real name when I meet people in real life.  "Hi I'm Evaguy!" would seem more awkward socially so I use it more online.
  2. Talk to people online.  A good thing about talking to people, whether chatting or posting in forums, is that they get a feel on how I structure my sentences and use certain words and quirks.  This also applies to meeting people offline as well.  You'd be surprised how they can identify you by just forming a sentence.
  3. Keep an "official" site.  Whether its a Facebook page or a blog like this, it helps to let people know your true source of information about yourself.  It helps people verify if somebody else is posing as you.
  4. If necessary, I try to counter potential misuse of my identity, especially if found out that someone else is using my online/offline identity for their own purposes.  This is true when others perceive you as someone influential or controversial enough to sway people to agree or disagree enough make you look good or bad in front of other people.  I normally talk about it in my own blog instead of battling it out in the other sites that used my name, because they would normally perceive me as another anon as well, which makes reasoning it out quite fruitless.
  5. Keep your friends (blood relatives are default).  Nothing like valuing your friends, through respect and genuine concern for their welfare, that keeps your identity alive.  Only they can accurately identify an impostor.  
  • 5.1 (Optional) Keep your enemies (blood relatives included).  Nothing beats people debunking an impostor saying how they're not the person whom they hate so much that they know every microscopic detail of your life they loath.  Makes for amusing afterlife discussions.

Even when you're dead, it is those who are still alive that keep your memory intact online.  Although I'll make sure I'd keep my prankster friends from knowing my email passwords and use them to send post-death messages to other people.  And I'd make my wife promise to burn my cellphone SIM as well. Morbid, yes, but it would make another Heather Mikayle weebo think twice about using my identity for whatever purpose.  Even when its something as insignificant as mine compared to Saya, but its better to be safe than sorry.

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