Or, ‘How to keep your online presence a secret’.
So, I’m on Instagram now (yeah, colour me an old fart but in my defence I worked on the port of the original Mosaic browser back in 1993 while in Germany alongside CERN when the World Wide Web was a new fangled thing, so I kinda think I’ve done the ‘new-tech’ adoption bit), retrotgirlsarah, and it’s a hoot. The reason I took so long to discover this social media platform? Secrecy.
Pictured – ‘secrecy at its least secret’. I also like the fact the two links listed first in my favourites are the wonderful http://www.boobsshop.com and a hub for buying retro frockage
I wrote an article a while ago on how to hide yourself as an online cross-dresser, and one of the most important things I talked about was separation – never have any of your drab stuff on the same device as any of your femm stuff. Well, I broke my own rule – mostly because Instagram only lets you post from a mobile device (which you can bypass by editing photos on your lappy and emailing them to yourself, then post from the Instagram app on your phone).
But I don’t have a femm-phone. Again, I’m a little bit of an old fart nowadays and rapidly approaching the point that I find a mobile incredibly invasive. I actually forgot my phone a couple of weeks ago when I trekked into London for work and it was unbelievably peaceful, not checking Facebook every 30 seconds to see if anyone had liked the latest picture of one of my cats and feeling depressed because they hadn’t. But I digress – I don’t have a femm-phone so I use my personal phone for, well, Sarah’s Instagram.
I’ve already had one amusing near miss. My car was in for its MOT and some new tyres and the guy at the Audi garage is a bit of Star Wars Lego fan, as am I. I bought myself the huge Millennium Falcon as a Xmas present (and as I haven’t been overly femm so far in this post I also bought myself some gorgeous 1950s American style frocks) and had literally just finished it and taken a photo. The guy wanted to see it so I handed over my phone to him with the picture showing, and he came *very* close to swiping left which would have shown him a gorgeous 1940s frock and retro makeup.
Pictured – the very picture. Given the salesmen was ex-military and from the same regiment as me (albeit thirty years apart) it would have made the conversation difficult. Especially if he offered me money off 😉
And it was as my heart froze, which is exactly how it feels, that I realised I’d failed to do what I preach. You need to keep everything separate, and there are some very easy ways to do it.
So I thought I’d share/re-state some of the tricks you can use nowadays to keep your online femm side as far away from your drab side as possible. Plus some nice piccies for those seeking femm-fun (and browsing one handedly).
Have an email address for *every* one of your social network presences.
It’s easy enough to create free email addresses – the yahoo.co.uk and gmail’s of the world are there just for that. So, when you create a new account for a social network create a new email. That way you can trace exactly where emails are coming from (in addition I tend to create an email address whenever I register on a site – I can then detect which sites are selling my addresses on and…….reprimand them).
Pictured – a surprisingly vindictive cyber-avenger in her very pretty sun-dress
Never use your drab email. I actually fell foul of this when I registered the web address for this blog – when I bought transretrogurl.com I made the mistake of adding my phone number, which is my work and personal mobile. Cue thirty calls from Indian companies wishing to talk to ‘Sarah Lewis’ about her needs for web-development.
Have a separate phone for your femm profile
This is a tricky one. I hate having one phone, nevertheless having an additional one for Sarah, although I’ve been very tempted to buy her a pink iPhone. But there are a couple of alternatives to having two phones and one of the them is a way I really like. I recently updated my phone as part of my contract with the firm that provides the coverage, and as part of the deal I got a new iPhone. I got to keep the old one (and if you’re like me you’ll have a drawer somewhere with a number of old phones).
You can do something very swish to make this old phone your femm phone. First, set it back to factory defaults. Make sure there’s no SIM in there so it can’t connect to the phone networks directly. Now setup a personal hotspot on your new phone, which allows other devices to connect to it and use the data services. I now have a Sarah phone, that has her Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email on it. When I want to use it I just connect it via Wifi to the personal hotspot of my phone, which gives me the ability to do all my femm social network stuff safely on a clean phone.
Pictured – yet her profile picture on some of the social sites really makes her look like she gets her eldest son to set it up for her.
The other way is to have a SIM only contract on the cheap with another provider, and then switch the SIMs in your phone when you want to use the femm stuff. Problem with this is you’ll have his and hers apps on the same phone – I like having all of Sarah’s stuff on a separate device.
Incognito Window is your friend
I still get adverts for gorgeous retro dresses appearing on my drab Facebook feed, partly because there’s a tiny part of me that really doesn’t gives a rat’s arse about getting caught – hate to admit it but the rush of getting outed is part of the whole package for me. But this is simple to fix – clear your cookie information in the browser or, a better approach, do all your femm shopping in an incognito window.
Pictured – plus the auto-ad systems have started asking her, above, whether she has thought about retirement with her husband, and feminine incontinence products. You hit 50 and it’s all down hill, ladies.
An incognito window doesn’t store any of the client-side cookie information so you’ll stop getting the cross-site adverts (for instance, when I’m looking at Sarah’s email in a webpage I get constant adverts appearing for dresses I looked at a while back).
For your femm-mail always use the web interface, not a mail client
Just a way to keep your devices clean – if you use the web interfaces to read and send mail no addresses or potentially naughty content gets stored on the laptop/phone. Always a good move if you happen to get into a kinky ping-pong email conversation with someone.
Remember that everything you put up on the internet is available to anyone
I was surfing YouTube a couple of weeks back, a middle of the night session where I ended up looking at some Japanese playlists of cross-dressers. It’s very easy to get into a multi-hour session of watching and clicking, and the Japanese seem to have a massive urge to video themselves. About ten vids in I suddenly found myself watching a video of me, taken when I was having an apartment session. Nothing kinky, just a little video of me in a slinky (and rather fetching) nightclub dress doing some, if I may say so myself, cool feminine dance moves. Thing is, this video was posted to YouTube by some random Japanese cross-dresser fanboy with the archetypal bad-English title ‘Young CD dance for boyfriend’. Well, wrong on a number of fronts, but still a bit of an eye-opener.
Pictured – ‘Young CD dance for boyfriend’. I’ll take that complement 😉
I’d uploaded that video to Flickr a while back and forgot that I had set the settings on Flickr to allow anyone to download anything I put up.
I also found some slightly kinkier photos of me on a Russian pornographic website for ‘teenage girls having fun’. Again, missing the mark by a long shot but slightly more worrying than the YouTube find.
The point, other than to highlight the fact that some people don’t seem to be able to read the fact I am a middle-aged cross-dresser, is that anything you put up on the internet can be used by others. You can’t get around it, so be careful – if you use Flickr and don’t want to see your pictures appearing else-where set the security levels to stop people downloading them. But even that doesn’t work (if you’re on a Mac hit shift-cmd-4, then space, then highlight the webpage, then open the screenshot in Preview, then crop the browser window… *cough*) to stop people taking copies of what you put up.
Anyway, back to Instagram……..
Stay beautiful and don’t panic about what’s online – life is too short. Follow the handy hints and you’ll lessen the risk.
Pictured – or just post pictures of yourself as Cinderella.