With the release of Secure Messaging just around the corner, here’s a preview of what to expect, and a quick guide on how to get things set up and how to use it.
Activate Messaging: First Things First
Once you are logged in, go to your Settings page and click Activate Sharing (Messaging is the first feature of Sharing), the system will ask you which browser you use. You actually only have to choose between Internet Explorer or all the others (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and so on). If you use IE, well, you’ll have to wait about a whole minute until the process completes. Do not panic! Especially if in the meantime your browser continues to ask you “Do you want to stop the script from running?”
Say NO and be patient : )
The first time you activate Sharing, you are actually telling Passpack to create a 1024bit RSA (public and private) key. This is an asymmetric key algorithm which takes a little longer to generate.
Your Community Name
The second step consists of choosing your Community name.
There are a couple of reasons you need to choose it wisely:
- You will NOT be able to change it later
- It’s the only way friends can add you to their Ring of Trust
- It is how you will be identified in all Passpack sharing features
So, write your Community Name, check the spelling at least twice, and then confirm.
Adding people to your Ring of Trust may not be as easy as adding friends on other social networking sites, but hey, you’re not on a social network! You’re on Passpack, managing secure messages to and from “real life” people. It’s not about accumulating.
In your manager you will now see the tabs for People and Messages.
The first time you invite a friend you will be asked to accept terms and conditions. Take the time to read those few lines, it’s only a one-time message. Then write your friend’s community name. How do find your friend’s community name? Ask him – he should already be a friend of yours. This is not a system to find new friends. ;-)
Once you know it, type it carefully, in order to protect yours and his privacy, you’ll not be prompted if the name you wrote doesn’t exist; the same if your friend doesn’t accept your invite. You’ll receive a confirmation only if your invite is accepted.
While you’re waiting for your friend to accept your invite to be part of his Ring of Trust, you have the possibility to send him a short message and start a conversation. It’s not really a chat, but if he replies instantly, you’ll receive the message in a short while. It should be used only to assure each other that you’re adding the right person. Ask him something only he can know, such as where did you last meet, or which drink you had the last time you went out together.
Once you’re sure you’re adding the correct person to your Ring of Trust, and he has accepted your invite, you can go to the “Messages” tab to send and receive secure message. Yes, you can also send the key of your heart to your beloved, because nobody else will be able to read it but her.
Sending a message is really intuitive, all you need to do is type out your message, then select who you want to send it to, from the drop-down list. Or you can click on the little envelope next to the name of one of your friends, and you will be taken to the message screen.
Like with your password, you have the option to hide or show the messages you send and receive with your friends. By default they are hidden, click Show to see them.
These messages are stored for a week, and then will be deleted. This is not an archiving system, like an email account. This is a private exchange of data, that is not to be stored. But you can keep up to 5 messages by *starring* them and setting them as favorites.
Let’s add privacy to our online identities and let privacy evolve.