Privacy issues online are still a huge hot button topic. It seems that everywhere you look, another company is trying to take your information or is compiling a ton of data on your personal habits. Although it's important to stay aware of this, the more immediate threat to our privacy is taking place over social media.
Recently, I blogged about how many companies are asking employees and new hires for their Facebook password in order to snoop through their photos and get a better idea of who they are. Many people have been fired or passed over for a job just because they had photos of themselves partying with their friends on Facebook or have posted questionable content.
It doesn't seem fair that employees aren't allowed to have a life or participate in all the web has to offer. They constantly have to worry that their bosses will find out or read something they posted and they will lose their job. So, how can you keep everything separated?
Some people have turned to creating an alter ego. Basically, they create a new identity to use online. With the help of Fake Name Generator, they can make an entirely new persona. That person can then post whatever they like on the internet without if being connected to them personally. The only problem is that it's hard enough to stay connected when it's just you, so adding another person is time consuming. However, if you want to hide your internet activities, here are 5 tips:
Set up a second email address - Make sure that you don't link it with your primary email address. The goal is to keep your new identity and your professional one completely separate. The same goes for any new social networking accounts, don't be friends with your alter ego.
Use incognito mode on your browser - Private browsing is easier than ever. Google Chrome and Firefox both offer a private browsing option. When you have this option selected, the browser doesn't store any information about the sites you visit, the forms you fill out or anything else. If you use Chrome, you can turn on this feature by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N. For Firefox, the shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+P.
Consider using a VPN - Hiding your identity and you IP address isn't as complicated as you'd think. There are several programs that will route your web requests through multiple tunnels, which stops sites from being about to know who or where you are. A quick Google search for VPN software will give you several options for making this simple.
Use disposable email addresses - There are many websites that offer disposable email addresses. How they work is that when you sign up for a new site, you can provide them with the disposable email address. The address is only active for about an hour and forwards any mail to your main email account. This is just long enough to confirm the email and get log on information. After that, any other messages from the site will be undeliverable. If you like the idea of using disposable addresses, there are even Firefox and Chrome add ons that make it easy.
Having an alter ego online is a great way to keep your personal and professional lives separated. It may take a little work at the beginning, but once you have your new identity all set up, you can quickly switch from professional mode to personal mode.