Nothing Wrong with Being an “Empty Suit”


People were  prone to accuse me of being an empty suit, but I have long ago donated my suits to charity. While I wore my suits with pride – particularly after they had been sent out for dry cleaning – in all honesty, there was not much going on between the lapels when I was younger.  Let’s just say “empty suits” have no heart!

Lest you think I am making some sort of boring political statement, I am not! In fact, I am here to provide some very practical advice on how to erase your digital footprint. It used to be that your carbon footprint was important, but Edward Snowden has dramatically pointed out that your digital persona is far important to the suits that run our government.

Found below and printed verbatim is some useful advice to help erase your digital footprint from Gizmodo:

If your growing weariness of being constantly tethered to the internet has become overwhelming, it might be time to scrub yourself from the social media sphere altogether. Here’s how you can become a ghost on the Internet, by tracking down and eliminating your digital past.

The Big Four

Before you go hunting down your old MySpace and Yahoo Fantasy Sports accounts, you should probably go ahead and nix your existence from the four largest social media sites on the planet—Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn—seeing as how they have the greatest reach and the most information on you. Luckily, each service makes the self-destruct process fairly straightforward.


Facebook makes it very obvious how to deactivate your account; it’s under Account Settings > Security > Deactivate your account. Don’t be fooled! Deactivation isn’t deletion, and when you chose this option, Facebook holds on to all your bits and pieces juuuuussssssst in case you change your mind.

To truly nuke your account, you need to head to the Delete My Account page and click the big blue button. That’s it, you’re officially off Facebook. The process might take up to a fortnight to complete since the system has to scan the entirety of itself making sure all data related to you—every tagged picture, like, and mention—but when it’s gone, it’s all gone. The process is irreversible.

Don’t worry, though; if you still want that treasure trove of pictures and updates living on your hard drive, you can download the whole shebang by going to Account Settings > General > Download a copy of your Facebook Data > Start My Archive.


Unlike on Facebook, on Twitter deactivate means delete. And it’s easy! Go to Account Settings > Deactivate my account > Okay, fine, deactivate account. Then just enter your password and you’re good to go.

Well, almost, anyway. Twitter also holds onto your info in case you have quitter’s remorse, so it’ll still stick around on the company’s servers for 30 days. After that, though, you’re all clear for a RTless life.


Another easy one. Head to the upper right hand corner of the page, and select Privacy & Settings from the drop-down menu. From there, head to Account > Close Your Account. Answer a quick question about why you’re leaving (as if you need a reason!), verify your account one more time, and then revel in the fact that you’ll never get LinkedIn spam again.

It’ll take a while for all professional network traces of you to leave Google and other search engines, but you’ll be purged before long.


There’s a decent chance you’re a Google+ member without even realizing it—which makes leaving all the more compelling. It’s also the most convoluted process of the four.

The important thing here is to delete your Google+ information and account without nuking your Google account (assuming you’re a Gmail and Gcal user).

To get rid of just your public information, first sign into Google+ if you somehow aren’t already. Click your name and/or email address in the upper right hand corner, and go to Account Management > Delete profile and remove related Google+ features > Delete Google+ content. That’ll take care of profile, your Circles, your +1s, etc.

To get rid of your entire Google+ account, meanwhile, repeat the above process, but select Delete your entire Google profile. This sounds scary! It’s not. You’ll still be able to use Gmail, your Google Drive, and so on. It will, however, totally vanish your Google+ presence, and will make for some annoyances if you’ve coupled it with other Google accounts (most commonly YouTube).

If you really want to go all the way with this and delete the entirety of your Google account (mail, calendar, etc). To do that, go to to your Google Account homepage, click Close account and delete all services and info associated with it, and kiss Gmail and every other Google-thing you love goodbye.

Cleaning Up the Scraps

Once you’ve taken care of the four elephants in the room, it’s time to go after your smaller and older accounts. But unless you’ve been keeping meticulous notes on every single forum board and half-baked social site you’ve ever joined, you’re going to need to spend a fair amount of time tracking them all down.

Luckily, there are tools for that.

Just Delete Me offers a similar service, as well as a handy Chrome Extension that will light up whenever you’re on a site that JDM recognizes and will link you directly to the site’s account deletion page.

Knowem, meanwhile, finds sites that you may have forgotten about entirely by doing a username search on more that 500 popular social sites.

Now if you want to get really thorough and start eliminating traces of yourself from further corners of the Internet, check out our helpful guide on removing your personal information from background check websites. That’s for extreme cases only, though—and it requires some extreme solutions. In the meantime, enjoy being an internet ghost, and remember, you’ve still got some time to reactivate that Twitter account.

[LifeHacker – Hongkiat – Images: ArtFamily – Amy Walters]

Thanks for this useful article.

A World without Books: Urban Planning in the Digital World

Several days ago, I wrote an article for the Stationers Guild comparing market valuations of the LinkedIn IPO and the sale of Barnes and Noble. I have more than a passing interest in the subject since I serve on the Town’s Transportation Planning Committee and more than once have almost been run-over by some distracted woman driver on a cell phone.    Men are equally to blame, but they don’t tend to gesture as much with their hands when they drive.

Now, I had always thought that LinkedIn was simply a business networking website where day traders,  mortgage brokers and the white-collared unemployed posted their resumes.  The stock market thought otherwise and placed a valuation of $8 billion on LinkedIn.   On the other hand, when I walk into a bookstore I think of  history, intrigue, romance  and – dare I say it – issues that transcend the attire that Lady Gaga wore at her last concert.   The market thought otherwise and placed a value of $1 billion on Barnes and Noble.

Since I have been brought up to believe in efficient markets, I realize that I am woefully out of my depth when it comes to understanding today’s realities.   If so, why do we continue to use traditional stimulus, taxation  and urban planning models that are woefully ineffective in this world of Twitter reality?

Found below is a reprint of my article and I would sincerely appreciate any advice from Gourmay readers on remedies to deal the inevitable urban restructuring.


Today as I was watching CNBC, financial analysts were commenting on the surging IPO (Initial Public Offering) share price of LinkedIn, a business social media website. The initial offering of $45 a share suggested a market valuation of some $4 billion. Shortly after the IPO, the share price almost tripled and has now settled back into the mid $90s. This indicates that LinkedIn is valued by the market at some somewhere north of $8 billion.

Contrast this with the offer of Liberty Media to acquire Barnes & Noble for just over $1 billion. Barnes & Noble has 705 stores across the United States and some 35,000 employees. It has been looking for a buyer since August of 2010 and many believed that no one would step up to the table until Liberty’s most recent offer. By comparison, LinkedIn has around 1,000 employees and operates from one location in Mountain View, California.

What is one to make of these two news events? Is LinkedIn really worth $8 billion and, if so, what does it say about the value of retail bookstores that are being impacted by the public acceptance of digital books? More importantly, what does it mean to commercial real estate values, employment and retail businesses that rely on the physical movement of goods and services? What does this news portend for property tax revenue for local governments across the United States?

I don’t know the answers to these questions and am surprised that none of the financial analysts or news media pundits have addressed the long term implications of these changes. Clearly, the impact of digital efficiencies will have a marked impact on our communities since less storefront properties are required to “sell” physical products. It is difficult to believe that new restaurants, banks and clothing boutiques can replace stores that have been vacated by traditional businesses that were vital to one’s sense of community. I am not sure that people with lattes in Starbucks on their iPhones, iPads, Nooks and Kindles and interacting with their digital community is quite the same as chatting with friends or colleagues at the local diner or coffee shop. Do you?

Like many others, I am not sure where this digital revolution is headed, but I don’t think things will be quite the same for communities across the United States. We need to rethink town planning with an eye to the changes created by this digital revolution. Communities that continue to base town planning around the automobile, FAR (floor-to-area-ratio) and antiquated zoning regulations will soon be catering to vacant storefronts and wondering what went wrong.


Richard W. May
Therese Saint Clair