Spaf and Social Media (please read)

With time, I continue to attract new readers/links/friends/stalkers/tails/parasites&symbionts/alien monitors.   I hope it is because people find some of what I am posting to be of interest, as well as the usual infestation of spambots and imaginary beings (about 80% of my followers, I reckon).

It is probably time to once again lay out a little about my online presence to help make things clearer to all of you bots (and to help me keep it straight). As it is, you may see multiple versions of me online and question your sanity, instead of spending your time wisely questioning my sanity.  So think of this as a service, to you.

About My Postings

First, I try to maintain three distinct, segregated streams of material in my social media. (Links are given at the end.)

Professional/Career Items

One stream is more or less related to my “day job” as a university professor at a major university.  There, I post in a blog on an irregular basis.   I also maintain a Tumblr blog where I repost links from various on-line media about security, privacy, espionage, cybercrime, and related topics.  That blog is gated into a Twitter feed to which I sometimes add related tweets.  I have a LinkedIn account that I use to maintain contact with others. I have profiles at ResearchGate and that I don’t do a good job of maintaining, but may be of value. All of this tends to be  serious and professional, and sounds like more that it is.

Personal Items

A second stream is more play oriented, but sometimes serious.  In my WordPress blog I post items of a personal nature — sometimes intended to be funny (such as my New Year’s resolutions) or quirky (such as my history of my branch of the Spafford family).   I maintain an active Twitter account as myself, and a Facebook account.  In both there will be a range of the bizarre and the unusual that make me laugh or shake my head: basically, things that I think are worth seeing.  Readers will also pick out some of my thoughts on politics, posers, organized religion, and annoying celebrities (among others); I’m not too reserved about some of my views. The Twitter and Facebook feeds have some cross-connect, but the feed-across is sporadic — if you are constructing a psych profile on me, you should probably follow both.  I also post answers to Quora from time to time, and images to Pinterest.  I maintain a legacy mailing list named web-heads that gates into a Tumblr blog, that then dumps into my Twitter feed with the tag #webheads; anything with that hashtag in my Twitter or Facebook feeds thus may have been posted by someone else on the list who is similarly demented.  NONE of my posts in these outlets should be construed as having any official endorsement or connection with official positions or activities of my employer or organizations I work with.  Stated differently, these are my own peculiar views only and I am the only person to blame (well, maybe my family influenced me….). Note that these posts may well include items of an adult nature, so beware if you are easily offended.

Professional/Organizational Items

My third collection is not quite out in the open as an independent stream.  I am chair of the US Public Policy Council of ACM, and a member of the ACM Council (and a candidate for VP this spring). I am involved in activities related to ACM, IEEE, ISSA, AAAS, EPIC and other professional organizations. You may see posts in some places from me related to those.  In particular, there is a shared USACM Twitter feed to which I sometimes contribute.  Those outlets shouldn’t be viewed as related to either of the first two streams.

Along with all of that, I also sometimes put things into a Facebook group page and a LinkedIn group, both of which are for people interested in CERIAS at Purdue University.


I do not use Google+ for any of these.  I don’t like their policies of tying all their other services to that account, and I don’t like the interface and lack of connection to other social media.  In particular, I use some scripts and services to post items across services and at metered “doses” and those don’t work well with Google+.

BTW, I have a bunch of other accounts that you aren’t likely to see active any time soon — Flickr, YouTube, BuzzFeed, and even MySpace, among others.  I set those up simply so there wouldn’t be anyone else sending stuff out as “spaf”. Unfortunately, I got to a few too late, plus a few require that usernames be more than 6 characters long.  Thus, Twitter and others have items such as “TheRealSpaf” as identities.

You may be wondering where I find the time to post all of this stuff.   The answer is in parts.  First, I actually am limited a lot of the time: I have a chronic issue that sometimes limits my ability to type.  I thus have less productivity than many of my peers, especially because it becomes more difficult to hit deadlines. Short posts and mouse clicks are much easier for me when my hands hurt.  Second, I have chronic insomnia, so a lot gets shared with a few mouse clicks when I should be asleep (or sedated).  And third, I use several bots and scheduled jobs to meter out material over time rather than the bursty schedule at which I actually use the services.   This is basically a trick from Mother Nature — I use fluff and timing to make myself appear bigger to potential predators, er, the orderlies.  Note that there are likely to be quiet periods where you don’t see much from me: I’m either busy, my hands are messed up, or I’ve been abducted by a UFO.  Again.

If you have questions or comments on anything I post, please let me know.   If you want to repost any of the items be sure to use the appropriate mechanism.  In particular, if you want to use material from my blogs then either quote excerpts with appropriate credit, or provide a link back to the original.  That is polite, professional, and legal.

Linking to Others

If I don’t know you and have not interacted with you in some significant way, don’t bother to ask that I “friend” you on Facebook.  As it is, I need to trim what I have.  However, you can “follow” my posts if you want to see them — almost all are public.

If you can prove who you are and that there is a reason I should connect with you on LinkedIn, I may.  The threshold is lower there than Facebook, but still non-trivial.

If you try to send me spam, I will report it and block you.   Same general response with things that are intended to insult me, or are full of bigotry or vitriol towards any group not itself devoted to bigotry and/or vitriol.  That doesn’t mean you have to agree with me on everything.   I have many friends and corresponding links where we cannot have a conversation about politics or religion without getting a little spirited.  I value reasoned differences, but don’t expect me to keep quiet with my opinions!

Professional Stuff

Personal Stuff



If you are interested in miscellany about me, you can check out:

3 Responses to “Spaf and Social Media (please read)”

  1. Alexandra Says:

    Thank you for the explanations on how people can be so active over so many channels. I hope you continue to be like this! We can all learn something from you, maybe even Google +!


  2. Wayne Clark Says:

    I have enjoyed following you for the last several years, mostly on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I find your posts to be some of the best … if not THE best … of all of the people I follow. I am always entertained by the pleasant mixture of erudition and humor. Keep up the great work.


  3. Mitch Wagner (@MitchWagner) Says:

    We used to talk occasionally 20 years ago when I was reporting on security issues for various technology pubs, and I always enjoyed our conversations. I enjoy keeping up with you on Twitter, too.

    I’m a Google+ enthusiast and I’ll note two things: (1) Google dropped its interconnection policy on Google+. So you don’t have to connect your Google+ account to YouTube, for example. (2) A service called Friends+Me will cross-connect Google+ with Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, and also parcel your posts out over time.


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