In April, a St Louis area single mom lost her day job when her employer discovered her out-of-hours work: blogging about her polyamorous escapades. The woman – whose blog is called 'The Beautiful Kind' (or TBK) – was unmasked thanks to cached copy available on Twitter search engine Topsy: her full name (which she'd entered, then deleted) was still listed next to her nickname in the search engine.
Thanks to TBK's story, Topsy no longer displays a user's full name next to his or her Twitter nickname, even if the user has associated the two. "We may add [full names] back in the future, after we can fill in the gaps in the existing system," Topsy spokesman Brian Merritt tells Inc.com. "The story of the blogger and our disappointment at having played a role in her losing her job led to this decision."
Topsy isn't totally safe for sex bloggers (and anyone else) who wants to keep their Twitter life out of the office, though. Merritt cautions that the company is still tweaking its system to be "as effective as possible at finding folks without introducing privacy issues/concerns. We feel that the steps we've taken have improved the situation, but the issue is not yet entirely solved."
As for TBK herself, she recently returned to blogging after a six-week hiatus, and she's back on Twitter. (Her website also now includes detailed advice from her webmaster on how to protect one's privacy online.)
She's working "miscellaneous odd jobs to make ends meet," she tells Inc.com – "Still in job limbo and dealing with the effects of being a pariah. I don't even fit in with the sex bloggers!" She's just finished an e-book for women that will be available in early July, she's "pouring [her] heart and soul" into the website, and she hasn't given up hope on a steady job with benefits.
In the meantime, she says she's "living the authentic life. I truly hope it pays off!"
Of the Topsy changes, she tells Inc.com: "Seems like things are getting worse as far as Internet privacy goes, so this is heartening. Gotta keep positive, I'm definitely jaded."