Staying Anonymous on an Internet Full of Detectives

Whether you have decided to write under a pen name, create a free website, or maintain an entirely anonymous blog, you need to protect your identity. Most people think that keeping their name a secret, but that is simple not enough. In order to keep your identity protected, you need to understand all the ways that you could accidentally reveal your personal information.

When you create a free website, it is important to protect your personal information. The internet is a big place, and there are numerous people who enjoy harassing people they disagree with. Some conflicts have even developed into real-world harassment. The victims in these conflicts are often amazed that someone could find their name, address, and place of work online. The truth is that many people leave a breadcrumb trail of information, and the “internet detectives” simply know how to follow it. Here’s how to clean up your own trail.

o What information will you protect?
If you are creating an art portfolio, you will probably want your own name attached to your work. Likewise, when you create a photography website you want to be sure that your work is properly attributed. Leaving original work anonymous or uncredited gives unethical people an opportunity to claim it for themselves. You can create a business website for free, but you still want your real business name advertised, and probably your own name as well. However, if you are a big fan and build a music website about your favorite bands and artists, you don’t necessarily need to have your real name attached.

o Social Networking
A web presence with a page on Facebook can be a great idea, but be aware of your own public image. If users have your name, they can look you up on various social networks. Your Facebook page may be very professional and adult, but do you still have a MySpace page hanging around from high school? A bad social network image can be devastating when you are searching for a job.

Be careful who you add to your personal social networking page, and be careful what information you include. If you typically add strangers to your list, you may not want to include information like your hometown, high school, or past employers.

o Online Handles
A lot of people maintain a consistent web presence by using the same online handle, screen name, or nickname on all the websites they visit frequently. Sometimes this nickname is also their instant messaging name. The trouble with this consistency is that an angry user on one forum can use this screen name to find posts and information given on another forum, on YouTube, and in the comments sections of blogs.

Consider using a slightly different username for each website, forum, or section of your online presence. Try to keep business and casual contacts separate by using entirely different screen names.

o Email Addresses
Your email address is a fast and easy way to contact you. Unfortunately, it can also be a fast and easy way to track your movements online. The best way to keep your email address anonymous is to have multiple addresses for different purposes. If you have an anonymous blog or website, use a unique email address for that, and don’t put your real name anywhere when you sign up. You can usually have email from different addresses forwarded to a single main address, but be careful when replying so that your identity remains protected.

o Pictures
Pictures can help identify you in more than one way. There are many online picture hosting websites, and when you post a picture on a forum or blog using Flickr, Photobucket, or Shutterfly, it can usually lead curious users to the rest of your account. If all these pictures are public, internet detectives can look through them for identifying features like a school letter jacket or shirt, an identifiable building or address, or a recognizable family member. The way to avoid this issue is to have separate accounts for personal, business, and anonymous pictures. A drag and drop website builder can also help keep your identity safe by hosting your website and all your pictures in the same place.

Pictures can also identify you through information in the image file itself. If you right click on a picture on the internet, one of the options is usually “View Image Info.” This leads to a whole window of potentially personal information. Sometimes the general information, meta tags, or security information can contain the name of the person who owns the picture. Some digital cameras encode information into picture files, including the name of the camera owner. Check your pictures before posting them online, and make sure the file information does not contain anything you do not wish to share. Pictures are essential when you create a free website, just make sure they don’t contain anything that could lead people to your true identity.

Author Bio: Maria Wixman can teach you How To Make a Free Website with WIX.com I have been in the online marketing industry for over two years and love all things related to e-marketing, writing for the web, SEO and SEM.

Category: Internet
Keywords: create a free website,art portfolio, create a photography website,create a business website for fre

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