A friend was wondering how some guy she went on a few dates with during high school got her email address. They are separated by decades and over 1000 miles. She's been married twice, doesn't retain her maiden name, uses no social media and posts nothing online.
Me: Your information must be out there somewhere.
So we looked. Beginning our search with only her full maiden name and hometown, it took all of about two minutes to find her current name, the names of her first and second husbands, current home address and email address. Most of the info was listed on people-search, data aggregation sites. Who's surprised? But learning about this level of exposure was a revelation for my friend.
So my friend asked what's out there on me.
I haven't searched my own name in a long time.
I was startled to see that the people-search sites mostly connect me with just one other person: a girlfriend I broke up with about 25 years ago--the shiksa.
The net is like a visitor who runs a white-gloved finger along the edge of the picture frames in your house: You missed a spot.
But I'm glad that a great deal of current, more relevant information was missing. I can still maintain the illusion of semi-privacy. For a while, the university I attended had the alumni magazines posted online, something they did after I'd provided information about personal life events, people and circumstances that I hadn't expected to end up online. Fortunately, they moved that stuff behind an alumni password protected wall a few years ago and the personal info no longer turns up in Google searches. Not total privacy, but it's a level that I find adequate.