May 12, 2013

Killing Multiple Online Identities: The Experience

Time and again a new Online service starts, and I being a trier of all things new would be there to catch it up. The problem with me (and most of us) is that we never think about the footprints we are leaving with all these accounts over time. Of course, most of the information shared on these networks would be harmless, but with people spending more and more of their lives over Internet, you can' really be sure what information you may end up sharing on the network which may compromise your privacy/security.

So, this weekend I reviewed all the online accounts that I have made on different sites. And it came as a big shocker that I had over 50 online accounts for different types of services. Some of them were of course a necessity, like a Gmail account, but many more were just tried for a while and then forgotten, or may be used heavily over a period of time but were of no use anymore. So, I spent a few hours trying to delete these accounts one by one. And I must tell you, it wasn't as easy as one would think.

  • tweetdeck: (Difficult: Couldn't find a 'delete account' button anywhere on the client or their website. Had to search for it to find a link which led me delete the account.) A twitter client which was later taken over by Twitter itself. Nice little client for heavy twitter users. But Twitter announced that they will be shutting off this service so I went on to remove this service in advance.
  • Pinterest: (Easy: Pinterest doesn't seem to have a "Delete" option but you can "Deactivate" it which is as good as deleting.). Pinterest is the latest fad in online social networking after Facebook, Twitter and Google+. I tried it a few months ago, but didn't seem to get a hang of it.  
  • Secondary Gmail Account: (Easy: Was easily able to find the link and after a few necessary warnings, Google conveniently deleted the account with all the associated information. Neat!). Already have a Gmail and Yahoo account and this was not really necessary to keep. Good riddance.
  • Advirtus: (Easy). It's a site for developing habits in group and keeping each other accountable and taking up challenges. It was fun for a while.
  • Wacchen: It was site to mark videos to view later, just like ReadLater services for texts. The site doesn't seem to exist now.
  • 123greetings: (Can't delete.) A site used almost a decade back when sending online greetings was a fad. And it came as a rude shock that they don't have an option to delete the account (although they have it in their plan!)
  • Forum: Similar to Advirtus. The forum of this site has gone premium now so my account doesn't exist anymore.
  • tweetstreamapp: A service to back up the tweets and get coo! analytics about it. It was closed last year so no option to delete any account on it. A weird blog remains on the site.
  • Can't seem to remember what this site was for! It was a little difficult to open the site, but was Easy to delete once opened.
  • (Easy) A site to create online comics. Tried it but found it to be a little difficult to use, so never came back to it.
  • (Easy) An Online IDE to write and compile code. But this IDE is a little advanced for my needs. I use codepad to practise throwaway code sometimes.
  • deviantart: (Easy: They tried to emotionally blackmail me into keep my account but allowed me to delete it when I persisted.) A place for digital artists, not really somewhere I should belong!
  • (Moderate: The link to delete the account was hidden in one of the menus) An online service to backup and tag your bookmarks. With Chrome and Firefox's own bookmark syncing, this service isn't required anymore.
  • (Easy) A service to find related information on site you are on. Wasn't much useful to me.
  • (SuperEasy: Open the account, done!) A productivity site with a difference. Instead of ToDo today list you create IDidThis today list.
  • (SuperEasy: Open, delete, sign out) Awesome Task maker, but a little too advanced for the needs.
  • (Easy) A site for Image hosting, sharing and editing. With better alternatives like Instagram, Flickr and Google+ existing now, it's not needed anymore.
  • Minus.Com: (Moderate: No apparent link exists anywhere, so had to request them via their contact form. But the operators were curteous and did what was expected). A social networking site in its infancy, with a minimalist look.
  • (Moderate) A file hosting and sharing site. With much better alternatives like Dropbox and Google Drive existing, it's not required anymore.
  • Box.Net: (Easy) One of the first cloud hosting services I tried. Has become better but nobody beats Dropbox today!
  • Freebooks.Net: (Moderate: Had to email them to delete the account, which they did after a few days). A site to view and download free books. They also have premium account with better services but I don't have time to download and read random books from Internet. Also, better sources available now.
  • Way2Sms: (Difficult: They authenticate your identity before taking action which was an arduous process to go through) At one time, heavily used by me. The ease of typing and sending messages on computer made it an essential site to use everyday for almost an year. But DND services on phones and the slow death of SMS itself has made this site obscure now.

The sites have made it super easy for you to join them but it's not that easy to leave them! But it is important to review the kind of sites that you have shared your online credentials with and if they are of much use in the present scenarios. Spending these few hours has enabled me to get rid of these many services listed above (and a few more!). This also enables me to review what's important and where I want to invest my online time. After all I have it in limited amount!