Social media has made almost everyone’s life an open book (one that’s a bit too open in some cases). As more and more companies and individuals come to rely on the Internet as a primary source of information about others, so too does the possibility of compromising info reaching the wrong person grow.
As millions of pictures continue to be integrated into CCTV systemsto allow for easy identification of “suspects,” and our online behavior is evaluated relative to our risk of being a “social contagion,” disappearing online has never been more attractive.
Even for folks more concerned about their personal information potentially costing them jobs and relationships, or for those dealing with the harsh realities of social media fallout, the decision to “pull the plug” is an increasingly understandable one. And while it might seem impossible to keep your private life private and your Internet presence to a minimum in a 24/7 connected world: the truth is you candisappear online with a little effort and dedication.
The first step to keeping a low profile online is (as you may expect) to stop using social media sites and delete your accounts. If you’re unclear about where to start, sites such as JustDelete.Meoffer links and tips to help you review your existing presence and get the process moving (and whether it is actually possible to delete your accounts at all).
To remove information that’s been gathered about you (as compared to information posted by you), you may want to consider the similarly named “DeleteMe”. This service promises to scan popular data collection sites and remove your personal contact information and photos, generating a report every three months to keep you updated on what’s been removed.
Pulling the plug on social media and removing any compromising or personal data is a great start, but unless you’re planning on abandoning the Internet altogether, this is just the beginning.
In order to maintain your new-found anonymity, you must master reputation management, learn to use dummy accounts, and take advantage of anonymous searching. This might seem like a lot of effort, but it sure beats waiting for companies to delete your data on their own.
Disappearing from the Internet isn’t for everyone. But if you’re serious about your privacy, your security, and your reputation, taking the time to make yourself invisible online is worth the time and trouble.