Protecting Me

I admit that I have a somewhat loose concept of protecting my vanilla identity. I have a scene name attached to a public blog with my picture on it. The only thing that I might have if confronted about it by someone I know is to simply say, “Well, it sort of looks like me but the eyes are a little different” — or some such nonsense. The fact remains, though, that I am the decider of who knows my real name or anything else about me.

Last year, I had my Gmail account hacked while staying in Vegas and spam sent out with vanilla and not-so-vanilla contact info bundled together. Most of the vanilla contacts never saw the email because their spam filters caught it — a couple did get the spam but just deleted it and let me know what had happened. Since then, I’ve done all sorts of things to ensure that this doesn’t happen again including choosing passwords that are entire sentences long with characters here and there changed to discourage attempts to hack them. Not using poorly secured hotel internet connections might be another good idea.

There are folks out there, though, that seem to not have a good grasp of anonymity. I often notice this when I’m included in a forwarded email of “funny” stuff. Often, it is not funny at all (at least not to me) but that’s not the point. If I look up at the address details, I notice a string of people who have gotten themselves on this list of recipients. In some cases, I’m not only able to see their scene name but their real name as well because that’s how that person is identified in the contact list. Now, this information is safe with me because, frankly, I just don’t care enough unless a person wants me to know their name. However, it does take me aback a bit to see someone be that careless and wonder if there are other folks out there who feel the same way.

Your identity is yours, something which is most important where the scene is concerned. Make sure it is protected as far as you want it to be protected — be vigilant. And please — please — be careful with how you handle the identities of other folks. Outing someone is a cardinal sin in this thing that we do — doing it carelessly is no better than doing it intentionally because the result is the same.

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14 Responses to “Protecting Me”

  1. ..talk about spanking again. ( lol) πŸ˜‰

  2. ..that was fresh and I apologize. ..attemt to be cute fell flat. It happens.

    seriously, Rad…very relevant post and a good word to the wise….

  3. To the poster who mentioned a certain incident on another blog:

    I have contacted that person and the situation will be taken care of.

  4. Good point Rad, especially for newbies like me. I’m not long in the scene and the first friends I made were quick to point out I was very free with my identity and suggested I get a scene name and separate e-mail address. Only lately I’m realising what a good idea that was!

  5. Emma Jane: You cannot be too careful especially with the potential for malicious and predatory persons.

  6. Hi Rad, thanks I totally agree and when I was starting off I was very naive. But also incredibly lucky to meet people early on who gave me great advice, and made sure I followed it! I’ve found having a scene identity also means I’m more comfortable contacting people or commenting on blogs I’d been lurking on for ages ; )

  7. My vanilla me and scene me are pretty separate although I do have a few people who I know real life who are on my vanilla me email.

    In general I don’t tend to forward things unless I have never seen it before and think others might not have either and I think it’s pretty cute or funny.

    Also, I have to be able to edit out any chainmail types of references and any previous lists of recipients that are showing in the email from previous forwards. If I can’t, then I don’t forward it.

    I also don’t massively forward something to everyone in my address book. I only send it to people I think might appreciate it.

    In general, I don’t tend to even read all those forwarded jokes etc. and they usually end up deleted without being read, so I try to limit the crap I send to others since I know how much it annoys me to get the same thing 6 trillion times.

    Now, I have to say that for forwarding, BCC (blind carbon copying) is your friend. The email is sent not showing the names on the BCC list. Use it! It’s a wonderful feature. Most email programs I’ve used have let me send it to everyone using BCC instead of the TO field. I used one email program that made me have at least one name in the TO section (and everyone else could go in BCC section) – in that case I just put myself in the TO field and everyone else in the BCC section. That way, the only name they ever saw was mine.

  8. I can’t stand forwards to begin with! Like Emma, the first and best thing I did when I started out was to create completely a separate email account to go with my scene identity. Sometimes I wish I’d picked a different scene name, as the one I have incorporates part of my real name, and if I ever accidentally commented on a vanilla friend’s blog, for example, with my scene account, it wouldn’t be hard to put the pieces together. I’m a bit paranoid about this though, and that has served me well so far.

    I don’t put my face up anywhere. I’ve been approached to do modeling before, and while the chances of anyone in my super-conservative family coming across a video are slim, I just can’t risk it…there are kids involved. It makes me a little sad sometimes, cause it is something I would LOVE to do, but it’s a no-go. And even just my face as an avatar feels too risky. Perhaps ironically, I was once sent videos by a scene friend who was *convinced* that the model was me. The resemblance was striking, enough so that for a moment I thought “hmm, I might as well do videos if I could get “blamed” for these ones”. But anyway, while my scene persona is not bulletproof, it makes my life in the scene much much easier.

  9. I’m glad you posted this, Rad, because I needed a solid reminder. There are risks involved in making public our thinly disguised photos or barely altered scene names. I tend to forget this. Although some of my *close* and *trusted* vanilla friends know about my kinkiness, I wouldn’t want this to become knowledge to the public at large, especially to my colleagues.

    C, if you are referring to me: I never mistook the model in the video for yourself, I just thought the resmeblance was uncanny, which it was. It did make me wonder if you have a distant cousin, somewhere in the UK, who shares your spanking gene.

  10. You’re right. I never forward on those β€œfunny” stuff mails either Rad as they rarely are that hilarious in the first place and secondly there is the chance of passing on name details that really should be kept private. Flippancy with someone’s personal info really bugs me a lot.

    Way back in the day when I dipped my first toe into the cold icy waters that was the scene here, Lord knows I was paranoid about my real life identity being exposed. This was circa 1998-99 when Ireland barely had dial-up. I certainly wasn’t net-savvy never mind scene-savvy. In a moment worthy of Keyser SΓΆze, I picked a screen-name straight from the poster hanging on the wall behind my sub-glacial speed Pentium 1 PC which I still hang on to today…’Topcat599′ not the shit-box pentium. Don’t ask me what the 599 stands for. I was young, naive and experimenting back then. No idea.

    Anyway, shortly thereafter I started going to local munches and events which necessitated meeting other people in the flesh…oh the nerves and butterflies involved in that! At the my very first fetish party, I turned up wearing a Zorro mask for fear I’d meet someone I knew. Like a mate, or a co-worker, or my Dad. After an hour alone hanging about feeling very sheepish and sweaty, I removed said mask and started to relax. And began to meet people.

    Which meant introductions. Which meant names. The problem was (and still is) that I have rather an unusual Irish name which is pretty uncommon even for over here, although Emma Jane might disagree πŸ™‚ Whatever. So when asked my name, something inside my gut screamed ‘no don’t give the real one out, make something up instead’. It was my instinct and I tend to go with it if it shouts loudly enough. It’s kept me alive this far in life πŸ™‚ For whatever reason, the first one that came into my head was ‘Frank’. Guess it rhymes with spank. Or something. The upshot is that from that day on I was christened Frank in this ‘world ‘as such. And it’s a moniker that’s served me well. I have much to thank ‘Frank’ for really πŸ™‚

    But this is the nub. There is a monthly bdsm club night in Dublin that we more or less religiously attend. Something along the same lines as Paddles….but with slightly more Leprechauns πŸ™‚ It’s usually great fun for us spankos who dabble in bdsm. The thing is, we’ve done some really great public scenes there. But there is a yahoo group associated with the club. That’s all fine. I don’t really post to it anymore for various reasons, chiefly to do with privacy. Yet some members insist on posting club reports that tend to detail and highlight the activities that I get up to and they do so mentioning me by my ‘real’ name Frank. Not Topcat599 which would be better or more appropriate. I also have a slight bee in my bonnet about spectators describing party scenes in public without asking the participants’ permission first or knowing for sure that they’d be ok with it. That’s a rant for another post. I guess what I’m saying in an incredibly long-winded manner is that I’m glad I never used my real name from the start as you just never know what can come back to haunt you in the future. You gotta realize that Ireland an awfully small place. Only 4 million people and everyone knows everyone. Or is related somewhere down the line. Had my real name (even though it’s only a first name) been plastered over that group, I’d have serious reservations about going back to the club. At the very least I’d feel paranoid and anxious. And I feel that way about most personal info. Way better to be over cautious if privacy is an issue.

    Having said that, I’m hereby announcing my future travel plans for all the world to see. We’ll be in New York for the upcoming SSNY party on the 6th of next month. I’m looking forward to saying hello to Rad, Sandy and any other frequenters of this corner of cyberspace who may be there. You should be able to easily identify me after this long ramble. I’ll be the guy with the Irish brogue with a brat in tow who answers to the name of Frank. Oh, and I won’t be wearing any Zorro mask πŸ™‚

  11. Wow. *gulp*….After reading all of these comments, I realize I am not NEARLY “guarded” enough. This explains the CONSPICUOUS lack of holiday cards from relatives this year….

    I guess I should dial my “wtf”-o-meter down a few notches.

  12. Hey TC, I definitely identify with what you’re saying. I suppose it’s not so bad if your name is John or Mary or Sue, but I also have an uncommon Irish name and, since the day I got a computer and typed the word spanking into a search engine, I’ve avoided ANY connection with my real name and life like the plague!

    I’m no so paranoid (much) anymore, and there are a handful who know me as me, but IrishRed or plain ol’ Red has served me in good stead all this time.

    Rad, thanks for bringing up a subject that’s easily missed at times. In our zeal to make new friends and connect with folks from the scene, it’s easy to be careless with private information. Even though I’d like to think that, hey … I’m really comfortable with this thing nowadays … I’d never want my family hurt or shocked by finding out about my double life. Bless their little vanilla hearts.

  13. Emily Jane…welcome to the naive club. I was very naive as a newbie, and at times I continue to be that. I think my personality is overly trusting and I, too have been burned by my own actions and by the actions of other people. Rad…this is a good reminder to me too. Being careful is important on lots of counts.

  14. Rad is good with reminders, Bella… ( man am I in trouble)…

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