How do I protect Ronnie Edwards?
April 2, 2013 1:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm a female in the US, about to get married for the second time and taking my husband's name. Help me manage how my new name appears online before it starts to happen.

Let's say that my first name is Veronica but I've always gone by Ronnie. Say my maiden name is Smith, my first married name is Jones, and my new married name will be Edwards. I have used Ronnie Jones, professionally and personally, for years. I intend to use Ronnie Edwards going forward.

Online, the name Ronnie Jones is associated with some things that I use daily (Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google, Flickr, and my website, which is, say, "ronnie jones dot com"). 

Overall, all the various permutations of my names (Veronica/Ronnie Smith/Jones) are linked with some things I'm very proud of (my photography), some that are embarrassing (like projects that I wish I hadn't gotten involved in that I don't have the ability to edit/modify), and some that I wish were private (like Spokeo knowing my relatives and my addresses and my income...) 

 In terms of information about me online, is it possible to keep just the good stuff with Ronnie Edwards and disassociate from the embarrassing/private stuff? If I just change my name from Jones to Edwards, won't EVERYTHING end up following me? Do I need to just disassociate completely and create brand new accounts everywhere?
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Nope. I don't think ANYTHING is going to automatically follow you unless YOU go in and change it...which you should be able to do if that's what you want. You should be able to update most of those things without opening new accounts. You may need to buy a new domain name and move your site to it, if you want it to be You should be able to set to redirect to the new location, so you don't lose anybody looking for you.

But media won't automatically update themselves if you go to city hall and legally change your name.

Good luck!
(If you need help updating your social media accounts, ask a young looking librarian at your public or academic library.)
posted by jrobin276 at 3:52 PM on April 2, 2013

So, short answer - there is a lot (like Spokeo) over which you have no control. You still have no control over it. If you got involved in projects under your old name and you don't want them to follow you, don't tell the maintainers of the projects that your name has changed and they will stay associated with Ronnie Jones. If you have things you DO want to follow you, change them yourself or make sure you can get them changed.

Nothing happens automatically and some sites make it pretty hard to change your name. There is nothing convenient about this process.
posted by town of cats at 3:54 PM on April 2, 2013

One thing you need to remember is, it's EXTREMELY unlikely you are the only person using any of the permutations of your name, be it Edwards, Smith or Jones: and therefore any online search for any of those names will pull up info on you AND lots of other people.

You really don't have any control of any of the info that's already out there. Realistically, the only thing you can do is, in the future, maintain as low of an online presence as possible, and let your name-dopplegangers be the ones who come up first in searches.
posted by easily confused at 5:09 PM on April 2, 2013

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