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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy mizwizzy's Avatar
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    Cool How Googleable Are You?

    How googleable are you? Does this affect your employment chances? Is it safe to post personal information online?

    Is getting listed on Google important to you? Sure, from a business point of view, of course you want your website to be found and get A1 listings! But on a personal level, does this bother you at all? I think we've all done it at one point in time, searched for ourselves on Google or another search engine. Were the results surprising? I have to admit I'm surpised that I could be perceived as being a man or even a pro wrestler if you did a search for my own SP username!

    For some people it is extremely important to be found on Google purely from an employment point of view. Many rely on search engines to promote their personal blogs or even to have employers find them! This also makes me think of Online Resumés/CV's - is it really that safe to have soo much information all about your personal details, employment history - basically your life's story all on display for the world to see! Do employers really take the time to look at your online resumé? Perhaps you have a domain purely dedicated to your employment opportunities where you keep your portfolio work, CV, contact details, etc..? Does it work for you? How secure can this be?

    What about being very Googleable but not wanting to be! Has this happened to you before? Let us know your stories! We have heard it time and time again about employees discussing details about their work or boss via blogs or facebook etc and only to be found on Google or even on those social network websites - in one form or another you are found out! Do you consciously watch what you say on the web? Do you have separate identities when you are online to avoid being cached on Google?

    So how Googleable are you guys?


  2. #2
    Theoretical Physics Student bronze trophy Jake Arkinstall's Avatar
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    Fortunately, my SP username is very specific and, as far as I'm aware I am the only Jake Arkinstall in the world. The only one with a web presence anyway.

    Most of the things are programming related, some are old websites and some random things e.g. Lolcats (everyone needs a sense of humour ).

    There isn't anything bad.
    Jake Arkinstall
    "Sometimes you don't need to reinvent the wheel;
    Sometimes its enough to make that wheel more rounded"-Molona

  3. #3
    I meant that to happen silver trophybronze trophy Raffles's Avatar
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    I had an interesting experience with this recently. A couple of my students nonchalantly started asking me about things I was quite surprised they knew, but all of which I realised after a minute or so of concern was googleable. They were mostly curious about a few places I'd been to, what my school was like (they dug up some English writing I'd done) and about some of the nerdier things they found, like a few emails to javascript/css mailing lists, and a firefox search engine extension I made for a Danish-English dictionary. They also found a photo of me with a fairly ridiculous beard. I didn't mind though, it was all in good spirit.

    I just Googled myself and I'm happy to report there is nothing nefarious or potentially career-damaging out there. Most of the stuff I do online isn't under my real name because, like Jake, I'm pretty sure there isn't anyone else with my name out there. I have no interest in being easily found on the internet, but I'm not overzealous about being completely anonymous.

  4. #4
    SQL Consultant gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
    r937's Avatar
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    see Your Identity Online for a previous thread

    see post #24 for "giving out my real stuffs"

    rudy.ca | @rudydotca
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    "giving out my real stuffs"

  5. #5
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    My name is common, it's basically impossible to find me in Google because there's so many other people called Alex / Alexander Dawson out there it gives me a cloak of smog which would prevent employers from gaining much from me besides what hey already know through the services I use. Even if they could find out my past, so what? I've not done anything I'm ashamed of, much of my personal life is based on the web anyway and if they did discriminate against me on the basis of my career history I wouldn't want to work for them in the first place. To quote the saying "I am what I am" and whomever doesn't like that can go drink toilet water

  6. #6
    Theoretical Physics Student bronze trophy Jake Arkinstall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    My name is common, it's basically impossible to find me in Google because there's so many other people called Alex / Alexander Dawson out there
    Tut tut tut, not the first few results? You need better SEO
    Jake Arkinstall
    "Sometimes you don't need to reinvent the wheel;
    Sometimes its enough to make that wheel more rounded"-Molona

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy mizwizzy's Avatar
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    lol Raffles, that sounds a bit unnerving alright! How nosy are your students and just to come out with it like that aswell - they obtained alot of background information about you quite easily, did they produce the photo of you?

    Jake & Alex - Surely you guys had something you perhaps wouldn't have liked cached on google & associated with you? I know when I first started web design I created this silly little website on one of those free web hosting sites+annoying banner adverts and I had dancing aliens with a space theme going on, scrolling marquees and background music...talk about cringe - I was really into black backgrounds back then also needless to say it's vanished now but that haunted me for a looooong time

    Rudy - you're like a sponge - I think this was my first url conversation with you, it was unforgettable ty

  8. #8
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Arkinstall View Post
    Tut tut tut, not the first few results? You need better SEO
    Jake, I brand my business based on my business name, not my own name. If people want my services or to find my business they can find it very easily on Google. As for my own identity, it's hard to get yourself the number one position in Google when you (as an individual) is competing against an educational institution with the same name as you. Either way, all things considered... my brand name is No1 in the relevant search results and that's what matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by mizwizzy View Post
    Jake & Alex - Surely you guys had something you perhaps wouldn't have liked cached on google & associated with you? I know when I first started web design I created this silly little website on one of those free web hosting sites+annoying banner adverts and I had dancing aliens with a space theme going on, scrolling marquees and background music...talk about cringe - I was really into black backgrounds back then also needless to say it's vanished now but that haunted me for a looooong time
    Of course I've had bad looking websites, but it's all part of the learning process and all before I became a professional (I've been a hobbyist most of the time I've been practising web design - not making money from it, so it was OK for me to have some stinkers of a design).

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy mizwizzy's Avatar
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    What about in an instance where you use the same ID for your online presence in both a personal/professional capacity - say you use twitter, facebook, post on forums etc - from an employer point of view some do background checks, research etc...do you think it's a good idea to be so exposed and have all that information logged and out there for all to view? Perhaps you choose to keep your FB private for that very reason?

    What if you had crazy party pictures up on your FB, Blog or Flickr and they were crawled by Google and next uh oh...your potential boss sees them...disapproves and then you lose all chances of that job you've been waiting for! Surely there has to be a limit to how many things you wish to be associated with your online presence or indeed cached on the search engines! Even if you do use ur own name, there has to be a cut off point where you stop and say....hmm maybe I best not say that...or join that website - is it not a drag having to be so consciously aware of everything you do online?

  10. #10
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Seems to me like you're only looking at the downside... Yes people do stupid things on the web and it affects their job prospects, but a lot of people do good things too which warrant attention... If a business did a background check on me, you know what they would find? (and I know what info I've posted out) A geek who's been using technology all his life, has learnt a lot of stuff, is social enough to have made a lot of friends and contacts, spends his time either helping people or offering stuff which helps people and occasionally gets embroiled in a rant to meet his need to wind the trolls up every now and again. All things considered I am perfectly happy for my life to be on the web because with the bad comes the good - everything in life is a balance of some sorts. As an example... I've freely put my name to a great social charitable project on the web which I've offered my services to aid them without charge, if people choose to find out who I am based on the fact I've contributed to something that's going to help people, fine by me... it's not like they couldn't find me without my participation on the Internet in the first place.

    Sure I've made mistakes and produced some dodgy websites (Ahh Geocities, you limescale ridden corpse!)... but the thing is... you can't have it both ways, either you publish to the web or you don't - I did some work experience with a security firm and trust me, it's psychologically and physically impossible to consciously control everything you do online... I could build up a profile or track pretty much anyone if I really wanted to invest the time and effort into it. I prefer to be as open as possible, I'm sure potential clients and employees prefer someone who's honest (even about the screw ups) than someone who's neurotically paranoid and sociopathically tries to autopsy their own existence to keep their cravings for jelly beans under wraps. Why not do what I do, stop giving a hoot about your so-called "privacy" (which doesn't exist online) and just act like yourself - there's no point trying to BS your way through life like some kind of "innocent" being.

  11. #11
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    I am not taking this as a serious matter.
    If Somebody knowing me is their concern.
    I am known to many people around my place.
    They are knowing about my past and present.
    This do not harm me. I am not doing anything
    wrong or ashamed of it.The why should I care?

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Crazybanana's Avatar
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    I've been on the internet since it was offered to us here i live, back in the early 90's. I remember i was the first one to sign up for it when it was offered to us

    I've been making websites almost since i started using the web, back in the early 90's, and i am not ashamed of any of the sites i've made. it has been a journey of fun and experience

    in fact, i still have the first website i ever put online, it's saying "19©95 made with notepad"

    I'm not ashamed of anything i've done online, or offline. everything, good or bad is an experience. but of course, some things don't belong on the internet or to the public.

    these things can be pictures taken of you on a party, or anywhere else. or written stuff or pictures of some delicate life experiences etc...

    Back in the 90's i discovered a lot of pics on the internet from a cruise i went on, and from some pretty wild parties in some computer gathering i was attending in the capital

    needless to say, these things didnt belong online, and i had a long road to walk before i got all the pics removed. The pics wasn't that bad, but it didn't belong to the public as it was from my private life.

    I'm easy to find by google, if you're using my real name, but you can't find anything about my real name, googling some of my nicknames.

    I take privacy very seriously, and this is the way i want it to be.

    almost everyday i see people put pics of their friends online with their name and description of these moments, and many of these things really don't belong on the internet.

    So it's not just about what you, yourself do on the internet, but what is put on the internet about you

    I've been to hundreds of places and probably a thousand of parties all over the nation, and i can't imagine what i would think or do, if people starting to post about it with words and pictures

    those people would have to migrate to a very distant region, for a long long time

    but as i said, googling my real name would lead you directly to me with a lot of info, and there is nothing to be ashamed of in the SERPs, there are only benefits

    some people like to say that they got nothing to hide, but nothing to hide, does not necessarily mean that you should disclose it all...

    when it comes to my boss.. well, i'm mostly my own boss
    Who's to doom when the judge himself is dragged before the bar


  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy mizwizzy's Avatar
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    I agree with being yourself online absolutely, but as crazy said, that doesn't mean you have to divulge everything about yourself. I believe you should have a cut off point and be aware of how much you do share online or think about what you do say and post on the web - I think most of us are Googleable in one form or another whether its personal or in a professional capacity. I know that online anonymity is pretty much a given that you can never be anonymous on the web but you can make it difficult for people to find things out about yourself; why put it all out there in the public domain? I think personally I would rather be too paranoid than too naive

    Nothing comes up for me crazy regarding my real name - well there are results but nothing to do with me at all The only thing associated with me online is my sp name and also my business but that's under my business name of course both are seperate in their own right - I guess I consciously I didn't want either to be associated with each other, i.e. cached and merged on google ...hmm that would perhaps put in me Alex's psychopath classificiation I'm still me in all areas, I guess I just withhold that little bit more information back aswell and that's primarily down to this Googleable thing! Why would I want my clients or potential employers knowing about my latest twitterings or even what I think about being "How Googleable are you"?

  14. #14
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    No-one said you should divulge every section of your life on the web, however when you do post information to the web there's no point whatsoever trying to control where it goes or how it's used. If you don't want it out there, then simply don't post it anywhere or tell anyone about it. As for making it difficult to find the information, why bother? Trying to cover up your past makes you immediately look guilty and suspicious, if everything is out there for all to see (what you do post online) then at least you get to give your side of the story and know it's authentic rather than cloaking your details only to find someone else goes in search of it and get's some half-mutilated story about your swarded escapades. I know what people are like... if you try and hide things from them, they'll go to any length to find out everything. If however you just keep things open, they have no reason to go beyond the obvious.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy mizwizzy's Avatar
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    I dont think you look guilty or suspicious when you keep information from your past, present or future endeavours private or difficult to find, I think the person who is looking in the first place is the suspicious one and perhaps guilty of being too nosy or perhaps stalkerish If people are that bothered about obtaining the real information/story then they go straight to the source not snoop around the web for tidbits of information!

    Come on guys, surely there are more of you out there who have googled your name or ID's online - perhaps you found something you didn't like or were shocked at how popular you really were? Is it that difficult to get "uncached" from Google if there is something pertaining to you that you wish to disappear really quickly?

  16. #16
    Galactic Overlord gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
    HAWK's Avatar
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    I've always been one of those (some might say stupid) people that is very open online about who I am. I am very careful not to divulge information that would allow people to figure out where I live, but other than that I'm pretty much an open book. I have a personal blog which is no holds barred and contains my real name.

    I am very fortunate to work for a company that encourages an online presence and has employed me knowing EXACTLY what I'm like... but then you guys already know what a great employer I have.

    I think it very important to remember that the internet is forever though... don't write/blog/email/post anything that you wouldn't put on a billboard. I have fallen into that trap once and I'll never be so foolish again.

  17. #17
    Team ********* Louis Simoneau's Avatar
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    Agree with Hawk on all those points.

    I've made some effort to secure the top Google spot for my name by registering the matching domain and linking to it from a bunch of other profiles, so that way I control what people searching for me will find to some extent.

  18. #18
    Galactic Overlord gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
    HAWK's Avatar
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    Yeah, I like that idea.
    But "Sarah Taylor" and "Louis Simoneau" just aren't in the same league...

  19. #19
    padawan silver trophybronze trophy markbrown4's Avatar
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    I got to page 7 of results for Mark Brown and gave up.
    I used to have a blog that was number 4 but I let it go.

    The handle markbrown4 is much more revealing.. I actually found this thread for the first time.
    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=661330

    Um, thanks! and sorry for not responding.

    I need to Google myself more often.

  20. #20
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    One of the great things about working for yourself: not worrying about what your employer finds out about you online.

    I love it.
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  21. #21
    Team ********* Louis Simoneau's Avatar
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    @Sha: don't you then have the same problem with clients?
    @HAWK: wow, just googled your name, and the competition is indeed quite steep!

  22. #22
    Galactic Overlord gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
    HAWK's Avatar
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    Indeed. Sarah Hawk Taylor narrows it down somewhat!

  23. #23
    SitePoint Enthusiast Laneth's Avatar
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    Given that my name(s) are pretty much completely made up by me, I enjoy a fairly nice exposure on the search engines. However, it does make me wonder just what to do about all the crazy content attached to my name, surname especially.

    Also, my name is crazy enough to use online because many people don't expect it to be my real name.

    The only thing that ever distubed me was that "Laneth" is a chemical or something used in cosmetics or shampoos or something...

  24. #24
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Hm, I've googled myself occasionally to find that
    with my maiden name, there's lots about a girl who sings very loudly and off-key in a high-school choir (I've never sung in a choir, ever), a girl in Seattle who love hello kitty way too much (slightly disturbing) and one other person... and my name's not so common, but I guess more common than I thought.

    Under my married name, there is some researcher-dentist chick, lawlz. And Google has connected that to my website, even with the robots.txt on it (bleh).

    My nickname brings up a lot, but also some that aren't me (habbo, some other social-thingie-sites, and someone in Spain on LinkdIn who does artsy-stuff).

    So, the problem for those with more common names is this: You go in to a potential employer for your interview, and they start asking you about bizarre stuff you know nothing about... turns out they've googled your name and found 15 other people and think it's you.

  25. #25
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    I am very dominant in the search results for my alias (Sir Emeth, or Sir Emeth Mimetes) and my real name (Jay Lauser). I use both for almost everything, so I don't mind them not being separate.

    I am very open in what I put on the internet. I do not believe in living a secret life of things that would embarrass you if they were discovered. If I was worried about someone finding out about something that I did, I should stop doing it.


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