In this day and age of social media and Google, nothing seems to be private, and it would seem impossible to erase your online presence.
We have not only personal information on the internet but also keep increasing our online footprint.
More and more people are conducting their personal affairs and day to day chores like shopping, banking, job hunts and car taxes online. What’s more our location and online communication can be traced at all times.
Some months ago, a social experiment was conducted where a man, just by following people’s online information, approached them with information like their birthdays, pets, nick names, best friends’ names and what they had for dinner. Needlessly to say, they were rather taken aback.
Check Out How the Experiment Went: How Much A Stranger Can Know About You
So it pays to be careful online, but for an average person who uses the internet frequently and has a smart phone, it may already be too late.
Check privacy settings of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Gmail, Google Plus etc and make sure you share only information that is essential or that you don’t mind sharing with the public.
Adjust privacy settings according to your needs.
However, if you have had enough of people knowing too much about your personal life, there is also the option of eliminating your online presence. You can just disappear.
Deactivate your social media accounts:
You can deactivate your social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, etc.
But before deactivating them, erase all the information you have. Go to the ‘Security’ or ‘Privacy’ settings and manage your information, posts, photos etc.
That done, check if it has worked.
Search yourself online:
Just search yourself online by typing your name in any search engine. It will drag up all the information there is out there about you. You are bound to come across long forgotten accounts on once-upon-a-time social media sites, photo-sharing sites, blogs etc. Remove your information from these accounts and deactivate them.
DO NOT FORGET TO DELETE SEARCH HISTORY
Can’t delete an account? Mess up your information:
Change your name, take off your photos including profile pictures, hometown, birthday, un-friend connections; in short remove or falsify all the information you can.
Deactivate your email accounts and unsubscribe from mailing lists
Deactivate all your mailing accounts but don’t forget to remove your information. Unsubscribe from mailing lists. We sign up for a lot of stuff and over time usually forget about them. Hunt these down, unsubscribe and delete.
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You can get all this information or more in this detailed infographic as well.
But going through all this does not mean you have no trace online - at least there is no 100% guarantee. There are sites and servers that trace, track and save information and have been doing so for some time now. We have no access to them, but yes, you can make their life difficult if they ever decide to trace you based on their information.
A word of caution for all times: DO NOT OVERSHARE.
Be wise, very wise with your online activities.