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A Lesson-Learned from Being Impersonated in Internet


impersonaThere’s something I learned after somebody impersonated me in Twitter. This is a bit troublesome but if you have decided that Internet is the thing you can’t live without, it’s  worth doing it. There’s no telling when and why you’re going to face this, but it’s always better to be on the safe side before your reputation falls down in the cyber slippery slope 🙂

That was bad. Although I imagine it could be worst. A stranger has used my name and picture for his account in Twitter. He said all those braggy stuffs to people with lots of followers and mention that to people I have mentioned before in my timeline. I don’t remember even the slightest thing that I might have hurt somebody before or anything that might motivate people to do this. It happened anyway. I have done anything to prevent this spuffer to do anything further. It may help, it may be nothing at all. However, in the process I realized something I should have done.

We are all aware that since the rise of free services and social media, people have come to rely their modes of communication on those online applications. Chances are that we think we could use some or even only one of them. Free email is more than gmail, yahoo, or hotmail. The same goes with social media, that turns out to be others than just Facebook and Twitter. I myself don’t think of planning to use those less popular offers, like lycos mail, hushmail, gmx.com, juno.com (email) to name a few. There are also those like netlog, twoo, orkut, hi5 (social media), beside the most celebrated two: Facebook and Twitter. I wouldn’t say they are not good. I bet they have their own point of usage and uniquiness. It’s just that most people I know don’t use them that I could communicate with using the platform. Email providers are communicable to others, of course. So my reason on using one is personal. However social media are different case.

My points are :

  1. Maintain a consistent / steady usage of the services we use. Let other people know that the email we use is from certain provider. You know this is going to take some time, but that’s just about the chance for people to learn that you actually use them, not other ones. It goes the same analogously with social media.
  2. Secondly, this is crucial. Book for your account on important Internet services using a username associated with you. It is exactly like the way I put it. Let say, you use gmail and think that you’re going to use that for the rest of your life. Fine. Don’t just rest assured that nobody is not going to bug you. Go to yahoo mail, sign up for an email with your name. If you’re done, leave it that way. That’s going to prevent a stranger to use your name / username for future evil plan. Please be cautious that yahoo mail have some other domains; ymail, rocketmail, and several others with localized domain suffixes. Am I telling you that you should do the same with those ? Yes! And I don’t have to say that this also goes the same with Facebook and Twitter. Like I said, this is troublesome, but even I have come to think, that might not just be enough. Call me paranoid, but a straight association of a username with you would still leave a chance for forgery. Think of any variety of your username(s) and book them! How about those less popular services ? I think it is better for you to do the same, but for now I only focus on what most people seem to use, which I often communicate with.
  3. Avatar is ok, nickname is fine, but making yourself up like somebody / something else is bad. Plain bad! Be it a public figure, your favorite celeb, even your own pet. Why people find it hard to tell others that they are who they are ? I have seen my students using weird name / username to no point at all (what is to disguise ?). The problem is when it comes to refer back that the real you is the owner of a certain account. The real you should be represented with anything real about you.
  4. A well-maintained blog is irrefutable. It’s like once again bringing back the relevance of why we all should have blogs of our own. Again, this is not going to happen with a snap of your fingers. A blog is a direct representation of an individual. A well-maintain blog assumes that it is regularly updated, having a distinctive style, featured with personal profile pix, and so forth. In my case, I wrote an entry in my blog challenging the impersonator to duplicate what I have achieved so far; hundreds of blog entries, thousands of comments, and hundred of thousands of hits. I believe a duplication of such is almost impossible. My notion here is not the quantity thing, rather the fact that a blog is an accumulation of personal statements that, added with other identities, entirely builds a disparate repertoire of one’s online presence. (I can’t help this gibberish, sorry).

suksmaHaving put up all-the-four, well, not everyone of us would be the target of Internet crook. Hopefully never. A friend of mine (previously my student) said to me that I was forged because I am (her own word, translated) a “twitter celeb”. No. Not even close! It’s just that Internet has become an important part of my life. I have plunged into it that leaving traces, making differences, helping others, stressing out the crux (es), and exploring opportunities have been my thrust. Unfortunately, we still have to do something consciously to make it a safer, better “place”.

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