In this modern world much of our life happens in the electronic realm. I’ve compiled of few of the methods I use for managing my digital life.
I have literally hundreds of usernames and passwords I need to remember, so I developed a 4 tiered system to manage them all. I have username and password combos for:
Systems that I control, which would be my own computer or server. I tell it to no one.
Sensitive accounts like my bank or AdWords. I would tell very trusted people on a need to know basis.
Things I care about but don’t see as a security issue, such as my 9rules login info. I’m not going to publish my login, but I don’t sweat who I tell.
Things I’m forced to sign up for, such as the NYTimes.com or a software download. I don’t care who knows that info.
I also keep a black binder that I handwrite my login info because some places won’t accept my username and passwords of choice, such as I can’t change my 9rules Notes password to one I’d remember.
There are many types of spam; email, comments, websites, etc. I mostly care about the email spam and the comment spam I get on my blog.
For email, I have a multiple email account system.
My personal email. I only give it to friends and family that are web savvy. I have to trust that they won’t use it to send me eInvites or other services that ask for my email. I also have to trust that they won’t send me forwards, especially if they will include my email in a header with a grip of others. If one of those other people in the header of an email gets a specific virus, it could find my addy in their inbox.
My professional email. I give this to all business contacts and the friends and family that aren’t savvy. Then I rely on stuff like spam filters and PostGrey.
My sign-up email. If I need to provide an email address to get a piece of software or to sign-up for something I only need to access once or so, then I use this throw away email. In fact, I use Gmail for it.
Information rot is the fact that there is information about me on the web that is now outdated and is now inaccurate and/or incomplete. That includes information such as addresses, resumes, and more. I’ve only recently started to think about this problem because of things like MySpace, LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, and more. The best thing I’ve thought of to date is to keep a record of places on the web where perishable information exists and to check on them manually as events in my life transpire.
I am an infovore. There are a lot of sites out there that I like to stay up on and a lot of people I like to stay connected with. I use an RSS aggregator to manage all of the feeds from the various sites I like. I use stratified communication to stay in touch with a large number of people. By stratified I mean email, text messaging, comments, MySpace, phone calls, RL, chat, forums, and more. I could write a huge piece about which communication type is right for which type of message, perhaps another time.
I have been fortunate not to have this problem, but I take proactive steps to prevent it as well.
I change my bank and credit cards once a year. That way if my number is floating around, it won’t be for long.
I check my credit report once a quarter. If I see something weird, I look into it.
I crosscut shred credit card offers that I don’t want. I don’t need someone completing the application on my behalf.
I suggest buying your legal name as a domain name. That way you can use it for a blog, your own permanent email address, or whatever else.