Mar. 10th, 2013

I get a fair amount of strange church spam in my physical mailbox. Some of it's being strange deliberately to get attention (and thereby demonstrating a close cousin to "the failure mode of clever is asshole"). I'm pretty sure some of it's not. I think it's either tin-eared or aimed at a very different audience from me.

I don't think there's anything too problematic here, but religion and bodies are both things that can be very important and complex to people, so I'm cutting it )
If your Gmail fills in the name of somebody you don't know who has the initials of my wallet name, that's probably me.

I set up a Google+ account early, because of peer pressure and curiosity. I've barely used it since, both because I find Google to be creepy and because it seemed to be trying to replicate LiveJournal circa 2003, with less fanfic and an interface I found less personally useful. I set it up with the initials of my wallet name, because a) advertising is an insufficient reason to abandon basic safety precautions and b) I was feeling too lazy at the time to think of something and didn't want to link it to other pseudonyms I have more attachment to until/unless I had a similar attachment.

After some time, Google flagged the initials and locked me out. By that point, I was fairly sure that I was almost never going to use this account, but that there would be people who persisted in sending out invitations via it, so I wanted to keep the channel at least minimally open. So I filled in a plausible wallet name with the same initials. I picked a pretty one that was easy for English-speaking Americans to handle (since I'd already heard enough about the prejudices of the Google+ name-judgers) and that didn't cause confusion with anyone else I was aware of. (It's not unique in the world, but that wasn't my goal. I just didn't want to confuse anyone I knew. Also, I didn't want to spend more than ninety seconds placating the foolish beast.)

Because I got the original Google+ invitation to my main email account, even though I think I set it up to go to an alias, Google now thinks it knows the wallet name of my main email account. It uses that name everywhere, even overriding the personal Gmail settings of friends who had stored my email address as a contact.

If Google continues to take over the world, I expect to be able to get a passport in this name in another decade.

I have decided to be amused by this whole thing, because I prefer amusement to being creeped out.

(Disclaimer: this is probably not adequate to actually separate the identities in Google's databanks. If you want that, don't take my advice; take advice from someone who actually has experience in this area. Sorry and good luck.)

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malka

June 2014

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