Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Living with multiple identities

Recently I got a Facebook request from Roby S, my schoolmate. I was surprised, because he is already my friend. Why was adding me again? The profile photo was similar. The ‘About’ column too matched. Was it someone else who had stolen Roby’s identity and playing mischief?

So, I sent Roby a message seeking a clarification. He replied saying he had an FB account opened with his official ID. Later he discontinued it, and opened one with his personal ID. Now, he decided to revive his FB account opened with his official ID after he came to know that some friends whom he had added there, had sent him messages to which he hadn’t replied.

There was another case of Vini. Her earlier email ID was on Hotmail, and she had opened an FB account with it. Later, she dumped her Hotmail ID and moved to Gmail, and she opened another FB account with the Gmail ID. Now there are FB accounts of hers, confusing her friends no end.

Should Roby and Vini have opened another FB account? No. Even if your email ID has got hacked, you needn’t dump the FB account opened with it. Just add another valid email ID to your existing FB account and delink the hacked email ID from it.

You can link multiple email IDs to one Facebook account and use any of them to log in. You can even use your phone number as login ID if you have added it.

To add another email ID to your FB, click on the downward arrow beside ‘Home’ on top right corner, click on ‘account settings’, click on ‘Edit’ against Email, and click on ‘add another email address’. It will get activated, after you click on the verification link sent to the email ID you added. Just as you add, you can remove email IDs as well.

LinkedIn works the same way. There’s no need to another account, just because you have changed your default email ID.

Of course, there are cases where people do have two FB accounts. But that’s when they want to have two sets of identities -- like one account that can be accessed by acquaintances. colleagues etc; and another more personal one that can be accessed only by family members and very close friends.

Similar is the case with email accounts. Suppose you have three email IDs, used for different purposes, they can be accessed at one place. All major email clients like Gmail, Yahoo! and Hotmail allow forwarding emails to another ID. They also allow you to open different email ID that’s linked to the original one, and you can toggle between them.

Gmail also lets you reply from a non-Gmail ID from within Gmail. Meaning, you can send a mail from your Yahoo! ID, say abc@yahoo.com, via Gmail. The recipient of your email will see it as sent from your Yahoo ID, but via Gmail. These can be done by going to ‘Mail Settings’.

Cyberspace lets your different identities easily co-exist.

(This article appeared in my Wireless World column in The Times of India, Bangalore, today.)

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