Here's a curious little (true) Internet tale from my own family. I am NOT losing any sleep over it as it is NOT my problem - but I think it is mildly interesting, and there is a slight etiquette question involved.
A nephew has had his personal e-mail account with Big Internet Company #1 for years. I use Even Bigger Internet Company #2 for my personal e-mail.
When Nephew sent me e-mail, up until a week ago his address appeared in my in-box as <his real name>hisaddress@Company1.com
Starting a week ago, e-mails from him now appear in my in-box as coming from <somewhat inappropriate slang words>hisaddress@Company1.com
I thought at first
that he had changed his name inside his own e-mail account. That is certainly his right to do so as a young adult. I know he is job hunting right now. My only concern was that if he uses this account to contact prospective employers they may have a bad impression of him because of those slang words, so I just wanted to ask him if he uses this account when job hunting.
Nephew was quite puzzled when I mentioned the name change to him when I saw him this past weekend. At first he had no idea what I was talking about! He said he has not
changed his name inside Big Internet Company #1's service. When he sees his own outgoing mail, his name and address appear to him as they always have.
Nephew went on to say, though, that a little over a week ago he started using a free video service on the Internet which I know is now owned by Big Internet Company #2 (which runs my
e-mail). Nephew didn't want to use his own real name on Company #2's video service, so he made up a user name with slang words, but used his regular e-mail address from Company #1.
The only explanation I can think of is that maybe Company #2 is substituting his slang name for his real name on incoming messages from his e-mail address because that's what they now have in Company #2's records as the name associated with his e-mail address.
It turns out that this is not a problem for Nephew as he does NOT use his regular personal e-mail address for job hunting. (He has a special e-mail account only for job hunting.) So prospective employers who have their e-mail service through Big Internet Company #2 will not
see his slang name after all.
Well, that's my story. It's not a problem for Nephew, but I do wonder if there are any other young adults out there in a similar situation, sending e-mail from other companies' e-mail services and unknowingly having their names changed on incoming messages by Company #2.
I was very careful to be polite and not critical when I asked Nephew about the name change. I think it was the right thing to have done (to have mentioned the change to him). He was not offended at all.
I am curious, though. Would others have mentioned the change or would you have kept quiet about it if you had noticed it?