I spent a considerable amount of time today trying to update and streamline my online accounts. I’ve found that I can’t delete some accounts — even going through the entire site map, there’s no place to delete. In one case, it was a store I’d ordered from a couple of times, and I don’t remember ever signing up for the site. I never made a note of the account information (user name and email). Nor do I recognize the password. It makes me wonder if they set up the account? Even if I did it, which is possible, it still seems strange that there’s no way to delete the account. I suppose they find it unbelievable that any customer would want to leave their establishment.
In a couple of cases, I couldn’t update the password. I kept getting error messages. In another case, I had a hard time getting my phone to recognize the new password.
But other than that, I am moving right along.
Some sites I don’t care about, of course. Like Pinterest. I never understood the point of the site, never liked it, never saw that it gained me anything, but there’s no reason to delete it or to change the password. It’s rather innocuous, with no personal information and no links to personal information, so I don’t much care. I’m mostly concentrating on places that do have personal information — social security number, bank routing number, debit card information. And I’m concentrating on my paid accounts — this blog and my website. (Although WordPress is a free service, I’ve been paying for an upgrade so you don’t have to deal with a bunch of ads.)
The task isn’t something that can be done quickly. In fact, it could take me as long to undo or redo all the sites as it took to set them up in the first place. Although I was a latecomer to the internet, it’s been fourteen years since my first foray, and I tried many different sites in those years, so there is a lot to review. But I’ll keep chugging along.
Some sites, of course, are now long gone, like Gather, the best social networking site for authors ever. (In fact, that’s where I met most of my online friends.) Other sites I’ve forgotten about because I never use them. (I used to like Canva, but I find that it’s a lot easier for me to use Photoshop elements than an online site, and anyway, come to think of it, I no longer do the sort of promotional graphic that I did on Canva.)
Writing all this down makes it sounds like a lot of rigamarole, as if I’m spinning my wheels and going nowhere. And no wonder — that’s exactly how it feels. I doubt it’s important to get rid of defunct online accounts, and I’m not sure it’s necessary to update my passwords since who cares about a rather obscure author in a rather obscure corner of the internet.
But you never know. It doesn’t hurt to be more security conscious, and that’s reason enough to go through all this trouble.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.