Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vocabulary Lesson: Infosuicide

Infosuicide is when a person removes his or her publicly available information and digitally "disappears." The term is used almost exclusively in the tech/programming community.

A concise definition from Urban Dictionary:
"Disengaging from the Internet via the deletion of all your publicly available information."
So a person has disappeared digitally, but remains alive in the physical world. 
Two well-known examples of this are Mark Pilgrim and _why. (More formally known as "Why the lucky stiff.") They deleted their online presence in 2011 and 2009, respectively.

Neither have provided details regarding their disappearances, but both have since expressed the desire for privacy. I would imagine the regaining control of one's life (as someone who locks down her privacy pretty tightly on her social networking profiles) and privacy may be reasons a person may want to purge his or her digital trail.

Additional Resources:
Infosuicide, Urban Dictionary
Delving into the (online) disappearance of programmer Mark Pilgrim, Daily Dot
What happened when one of the world’s most unusual, and beloved, computer programmers disappeared, Slate

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