Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

4.34. How can I let others know more about myself?

People will learn about you and form opinions about you based on the words and actions you use on the Net. The newsgroups you frequent, your sense of humor (if any), and your opinions will be duly noted by the masse. There are more overt ways of making information available about yourself. Among them are via the finger command and your electronic mail and Usenet posting "signature."

finger and Your Plan

Systems that support the finger command can typically show basic information about you and your account, such as your name, when you last read your electronic mail, and whether you are currently logged on. Your mileage may vary; there are nearly as many implementations of finger as there are computers on the Internet.

On many systems, you can add to the information provided by finger. UNIX computers (and others) allow you to create a file in your home directory called .plan. Your plan file will be appended to your vital statistics whenever anyone fingers your account. At last, you can share your life's plan with the world. If you were to finger me on the day I wrote this, you would see what's below. Everything after "On since..." is my plan file, but it's there because it's information I think anyone fingering me might want to know.

Login: waffle                           Name: Kevin Savetz
Directory: /files/home/waffle           Shell: /local/bin/tcsh
Mail last read Wed Jan 19 17:06:52 1994
On since Wed Jan 19 21:45 (PST) on ttyp9

Freelance computer journalist.
Publisher of the Internet Services Frequently Asked Questions List.
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Author, "Your Internet Consultant - the FAQs of Life Online" (Sams

Your Signature

Your "signature" may be automatically appended to your postings to the Usenet and electronic mail, depending on what news and mail software you use. Check with the manual for your favorite software to learn how to make it do this.

Your signature can be a few lines that briefly tell others who you are or how to contact you. Some signatures contain cute quotes, disclaimers that the writer's opinions aren't necessarily the opinions of his employer, and a myriad of other information. Here are a few examples:

[ Kevin M. Savetz --             ]
[                 -- ]
And one that's a little more elaborate.
Grady Ward       | compiler of Moby lexicons:        | finger
+1 707 826 7715  | Words, Hyphenator, Part-of-Speech |    for more
(voice/24hr FAX) | Pronunciator, Thesaurus           | 15 E2 AD D3 D1 C6 F3
FC | and Language, all royalty-free    | 58 AC F7 3D 4F 01 1E

E. Jay O'
"God does not play dice with the Universe"--A Einstein
"No, she plays SuperScratch-Card Wingo (TM)"--Me.
Be careful about what information you share with the world in your signature and plan files. Think twice--or three or four times--before publishing your home phone number, credit card number, shoe size, or other information that will make you miserable when 14 million of your closest neighbors have it.

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