I’ve had this happen to me before and it’s very disconcerting when it happens. I know that being on social media means that everything is out there, but it feels like stalker-ish behavior.
Unfortunately I don’t really have a good answer for your question—but maybe our followers could help. I personally think rules of etiquette about interacting with people on the internet are still evolving, and men may just not understand that to a lot of women this behavior is threatening.
This is quite problematic. These sites were meant to help buffer us from real life, but when only one record exists where a.username = b.username, you anonymity is protected only by the scope of everything where these names are the same.
I’ve been very careful to fragment my web presence into at least 3 (no, there will be no post of the actual number) of usernames across the net, with nothing plugging into facebook, and I strongly resisted Google’s change in real name policy while it was active. It didn’t make me impossible to track down, but it segregated parts of my life that I wanted to discuss, but only with selected audiences.
One of my biggest worries is cracks into databases and joining on passwords, as my habits there lately have relaxed.
The point I’m trying to make is not one of making the creeped responsible for the creepers’ behavior, but rather one of awareness of the way data works in a wide open net with millions of tabs opening every second. We can never fully control the unscrupulous, even after ettiquete has matured on the net. While the rules for people should be “don’t investigate other site accounts of someone”, perhaps a guideline for healthy net habits should be “use more than 2 usernames where the option for a pseudonym exists.”
A friend once posted a pic of a package that arrived, she was very excited about the contents, and snapped the pic before opening it, showing the shipping label and who it was from. She did a good job covering the address, but a few select pieces of information (including enough of the apartment number, zip+4, and state to match an exact address) that I was motivated to confirm my suspicion, then warn her that the pic could be used to target her/family/anyone connected to the account.she took the pic down immediately and thanked me for the warning, but the lesson stands that incomplete info and joined accounts is risky, and while there are laws for retribution, protection and prevention from the unscrupulous start with our habits. I will never tell someone victimized by such techniques that they should have. But I will say that going forward, they can do X to protect.
In the meantime, talk to your kids about account stalking and how it’s bad. Reinforce this message strongly with these examples as they will be some of the first who grow up in such a world, and they will be a large influence on the etiquette of the net as it sparks and matures.