Many thanks to you lovely people who added your email addresses to your profile yesterday. You are all winners!
However, I suspect there might have been a few of you that read that post and thought, "That's all well and good, Janssen, except that my email address is 'FirstNameLastNameSocialSecurityfirstname.lastname@example.org' and I don't actually want to broadcast that to the whole world, especially not every single time I comment on a stranger's blog."
And you know what? I completely understand that! I mean, I don't even have small vulnerable children to protect and I think about privacy and online safety all the time (this may be, in part, thanks to the Masters in Information Studies. Also my natural paranoia).
My regular Gmail account is a standard FirstNameLastName for all the regular professional reasons, and I don't want that email address scattered about haphazardly. But I also don't want to be logging in and out of many many different email accounts, trying to keep track of what I'm emailing from, etc. The thought of managing separate email addresses for work, school, personal life, and my blog makes me want to weep.
Fortunately, as usual, Gmail is here to save the day, your privacy, and your sanity.
And I am here to tell you how it can do that. Lucky you.
Here's the plan - set up an additional email account that doesn't give away personal data, get it to forward to your regular email address, and then adjust the settings so it responds with your safe email address too.
Go to Gmail.com (I will not entertain ideas of using a different email client for all others have been tested and found wanting) and click "Create an Account."
It should take you automatically to your new gmail account, but if it doesn't, you can just go to Gmail.com and log in with your new login name and password. When you're in, click "Settings" in the top right corner. Then choose the "Forwarding and POP" tab. Click the second circle that says "Forward a copy . . . ." and then fill in your regular most used email address in the box that says "email address." It doesn't matter what you choose for that last drop down box. I choose "archive" because I hate a cluttery in-box even in an email account I never look at, because I am one of those crazy people. Click "Save Changes" at the bottom of the page.
Okay! Time to log into your regular favorite standard email account. I am, again, assuming it is Gmail. Go to "Settings" again (right top corner) and then choose the "Accounts" tab. You'll see your email address (you may only have one. I currently use. . .many) and then under it you click "Add another email address you own."
This window will pop up. Put in the name you want to use (No Last Name! No Street Address!) and then the email address you just set up. Click "Next Step."
This will come up. Click "Send Verification."
Log out of this email account and into the new one (last time. I promise). You should have a shiny new email waiting for you. Click the link!
Now you can go back to your regular email address that you know and love. Click "Settings" one more time. And then choose the "Accounts tab." Under your email addresses, it will say "Reply from the same address the message was sent to." Select that. You should get a little yellow message at the top of your screen saying "Your preferences have been saved." Ta-da! If someone emails you at your super anonymous awesome email address, you will automatically respond with it too, so it won't give them your FirstNameLastNameSocialSecurityNumber address. Or your last name.
If you don't even want the letter after your first name, click on "edit info" next to your anonymous-ish email address and change the display name to only say your first name. Or intials. Or something random. Whatever you want it to say.
Go and change your Blogger profile to this email address (using the steps here) if you want and sit back and relax knowing your privacy is protected and your identity is safe. Time to start worrying about something else, like how soon the milk expires.