I know I’m not alone in committing identity theft against my imaginary selves. Since no studies exist, I took an informal poll involving 50 friends and colleagues and, although I admit it’s not very scientific, it was revealing. More than half of respondents admitted they invent some or all of the information they provide to online news sites.
“I use a bogus identity (usually Margaret Thatcher) and a fake e-mail address. I usually list my birthday as 1/1/1970 (the beginning of the Unix era) and my ZIP code as 90210.”
“I have my Yahoo spam-catcher account I use for all those things, and my nom de guerre is James Bond. Or I put Dwight Eisenhower living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. SE in D.C.” —Adam L. Penenbarg —What, Me Register? (Wired)
I’m often an Albanian woman born in 1900. I have a yahoo e-mail address that’s already overwhelmed spam, because I only use it when I’m not sure what will happen to the address.
Amazon.com knows a lot about the real me, in part because of the book-rating feature that Amazon uses to recommend related books. I gain something from that service, so I don’t mind giving up some personal info for it. Registering for news sites is, on the other hand, just a bother.