Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Personal Google Search Results

I was watching How I Met Your Mother last night and Marshall, one of the main characters, was talking to the head of a company that he wanted to work for on the phone and the guy mentioned he would do a background check, credit check and Google search on him and get back to him.

Marshall ended up remembering he had a video online where he went streaking and then he made another video where he played Edward 40 Hands, which apparently is a real drinking type game.  Search online/YouTube, you can see for yourself if you'd like.

But anyway, that brought to mind that it's always good to know what your online persona looks like thanks to search engines.  I've looked before, probably several months ago and there wasn't much out there.  My Facebook page is private for the most part, I've removed the feature that makes you show up in search engines via your Facebook page and I just have some old posts out there I made a long long time ago at a job about 10 years ago when I was asking technical questions about a computer problem.

However, last night I found something interesting.  I found another perfectly acceptable human being with my name.  That was surprising, since I don't have all that common of a last name and that has never turned up before.  That got me thinking, what if someone searches for me, finds this other person and because my name isn't real common, just assumes that is me.

So, I decided to check him out a bit.  His Facebook page is pretty open so I thought I'd take a look around...seemed like a normal guy for the most part but then I found this interesting post:

"SKETCHY! Walked alone to an abandoned, overgrown cemetery on the edge of a really bad area. Went all the way to the back where a tomb had been broken open and a ladder led down into it. Heard noises coming from inside. So yours truly peeks in, holding his very expensive camera, and realizes it has been converted into a drug/alcohol den for the scum of the city. Yay - my first story in Ireland that ends with "...so I got the hell OUT of there before they killed me and sold my camera for heroin"

Not necessarily bad, but not something I'd be doing in my spare time.  He actually lives in Ireland right now, but he is originally from NY State, same as me, but someplace called North Port on Long Island.  That's no where near where I'm from, but since I'm originally from NY state, if someone did a quick search for me, came up to that guy and saw something about NY, they could make a quick incorrect judgment and get a negative impression potentially.  

There's not all that much you can do about someone else with the same name as you out there online, but it does bring up a good point to do a quick search on yourself every once in a while.  Initially, there were a few posts that I've done on Facebook pages that are public, some posts in an HP laptop forum with my name and things like that.  I removed all of those, just because you never know how someone would interpret what you say.  

Which brings up something else I came across the other day.  I was shocked at posts that I saw on one of our local news websites.  Their comment system utilizes Facebook comments.  People have their real names, pictures with their kids and are members of the local community, teachers, professionals, etc. and I witnessed on numerous occasions, people belittle others, flat out use racism, threaten violence, etc.   Do these people not realize others can see the comments, click on your profile and if it's not locked down, know an awful lot about them and how nasty they are as human beings?

At any rate, check yourself out on Google and go through at least the first 3 pages, clicking on any relevant links.  One interesting link on the 2nd or 3rd page took me to something called Pipl Profiles.  I clicked on my name and it brought up my Facebook profile picture as well as a list of things I apparently 'Liked' at one point in the past, including 'Unknown Drunken Injuries' which was something I remember liking for literally 1 day and I got to thinking, someone might take that the wrong way, so I removed it.  

I have no idea how that site trolls for data, but be aware this type of stuff might be out there and it's always good to try and stay ahead of these types of things.  Check out that Pipl Profiles page and let me know if you find anything unexpected/revealing there or anywhere else for that matter!  I'd definitely like to hear what you found.

P.S.  That picture at the top is NOT me.  I just scrolled up before saving this post and at first glance, kinda thought it was me, aside from the hair cut not matching.  Heh...another imposter!  They're everywhere. 


Jen said...

haha HIMYM was funny. Edward 40 hands. I have never heard of that before. Pretty funny.

Mock family said...

great blog post. super funny, that post from your "twin" is HILARIOUS haha who does that!! also ya speaking of facebook posts and what not, we had a teacher get in trouble for saying TGIF!! because a parent(which she was friends with- that I will NOT friend parents) interpreted that as her not wanting to be at school teaching her child.... yaaaaaaaaa

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