Monday, February 25, 2008

Google Me, I Dare You!

While reading different article about "You are What Your search result returns" and "When the Patient Is a Googler" made me think about how I have googled people and myself. As A Googler myself, I tend to Google people I don't know or people I'm interested in dating. I have come to find a lot of information by doing this. The Googled individuals seem to always be surprised at the information I find about them. It's simple yet some people seem to be unaware of the power of Google or search engines in general.
Here's a good example of what people are unaware of that Google can do. I was looking to purchase a temporary cell phone because I had recently had my AT&T phone stolen. I looked on craigslist and found a good deal and wanted to purchase the phone from the seller the next day. After e-mailing him, he responded very quickly. When trying to arrange a time to meet he became delayed in responding. I needed a phone as soon as possible and was getting impatient. I googled his name and his respective area that he mentioned he lived in. I found his name under a graduate from a local middle school. It appeared he was in his 40's and I thought this was the guy. That didn't help me to get him to respond any sooner.
I googled his e-mail address and found his AIM screen name on a paintball forum. This may seem creepy but I was desperate to get this phone! I IMed him which freaked him out a bit, but it got him to set up a time to met and make the transaction. I waited for him at the assigned location, and out jumped a 16 yr old punk (dressed like a wanna be gangster with a pimply face). I found my assumption to be wrong, but at least my googling got me my phone. I left him with this advice. If you don't want people finding you then make your contact information private.

After that occurrence it was nice to know some teens use their brains, as I discovered reading a Pew Report on Teen, Privacy and Online Social Networks that said:
Some 55% of online teens have profiles and most of them restrict access to their
profile in some way. Of those with profiles, 66% say their profile is not
visible to all Internet users. Of those whose profile can be accessed by anyone
online, nearly half (46%) say they give at least some false information. Teens
post fake information to protect themselves and also to be playful or silly.
Let's hope more teens follow these guidelines because privacy is really important if you want to stay safe in this Internet age.
Last thing, I am proud to say I have googled my name and nothing has lead back to the real me . . . yet.

1 comment:

Deepak Shahani said...

Carolyn, I enjoyed reading your blog about how you could protect your identity on the Internet. I think online or offline, it is hard to trust people and we often have the same issues when it comes to doing business with someone. The Internet could provide a tool to checking the background of people, but as you found out, sometimes it can't be reliable.
The most important thing is to protect your identity as you don't want people using your identity or spying on you.