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@ → ☠

It’s really interesting finding some of the accounts I’ve created since starting to use the internet as a young kid. Some I don’t expect to ever gain access to again or have any utility (ahem Castle Infinity). Whole lists of contacts in various instant messenger accounts, old email addresses that are just spam dumping grounds, fake accounts, profiles, Wikipedia users, dead blogs, and unmaintained StackExchange accounts. The list goes on and on. It’s a wonder I’ve kept this one for more than a couple months.

I don’t even use the handles or emails I used in college, of which there are many. I would have kept my @colostate.edu, @math.colostate.edu and @cs.colostate.edu addresses if I could. Until recently, I didn’t stick with one handle and largely stayed out of view (well, explicitly). You can find remnants of me in different places and you might have met me at a conference or two.

Each of my old accounts are graveyards. Graveyards with past and history. Graveyards of memories, projects, and online friends. There are at least two Facebook and LinkedIn accounts that were/are actually me as well. I largely ignored these services for > 5 years, much to the dismay of people who wanted to “connect” with me. There are some out there who understand my reasoning. I may be out and open now, but it doesn’t help those old connections. I’ve completely forgotten what email addresses connect these accounts. Just old data now, nothing fresh to enrich the hordes of data collection.

Mailinator to the rescue

There are large piles of accounts I created simply for access to a service requiring authentication. It used to be that I had to go through the process of setting up accounts, then mailinator came along and I gleefully got to reject having an identity anywhere. Just a useless inbox for spammers, product peddlers, and not-so-newsletters. It’s too bad I don’t have a mailinator for all those pesky “Loyalty Cards”.

There are accounts that die out when their novelty is gone. Others die with their owners. Having an identity was a novelty for me. Not sure I cared to exist in the past.

All accounts hang around well past the lifespan of its owner. No one gets to reclaim a squatted handle either, even if it’s not in use. How many underscores do I have to prepend to have a facsimile of the handle I want? Perhaps this alone makes new services stand up, not their features.

Pretty sure I’ve kept the same Facebook account over time, even though I’ve “deleted” it several times. Facebook never really goes away, even if you do. Heck, nothing really goes away. It’s the internet.

This makes me wonder.

Am I the identity or is it the handle? The latter lives well past me.

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Kyle Kelley


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Kyle Kelley

Break things and enjoy life.

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