Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Just Googling

Do you Google names of folks you know?  Have you ever Googled your own name?  I admit that I indulge in both of these activities.

I was reading the newspaper this morning and there in an article was the name of someone I had not seen since August 31, 1997.  (I remember the date because I was at a party at their home the night Princess Diana was killed.)  The person was married to the sister of a close friend of mine.  Big house, lavish party, big bucks.  It wasn't too long after that party that I found out he was going to jail for tax evasion.  I employed all my tact and never mentioned to my friend that I had heard the news.  Eventually, my friend moved out of state and I heard that the man in question and his wife divorced.

So, when I saw his name in the paper, curiosity got the best of me and I 'Googled' him.  Turns out he is back in business and seems to be generally doing well.  His online bio even mentioned the prison stint.

Over the years I have learned that you not only need to 'Google' a person, you need to check out the companies they say they worked for.  One local person I know worked for an investment company that went belly-up, but he fails to mention it in his bio.  No surprise.  It was a small company so not one I, or anyone else, would be likely to have heard of.

Another told me that they were vice-president of a consulting firm, but it wasn't until years later I found out (through Google) that the firm had less than 10 employees.  I am guessing two - president and vice-president.

Sometimes the info online cannot be trusted, especially those sites that purport to provide details about someone, name address, relatives etc.  I recently Googled another old friend to see what I could learn about their whereabouts.  Not only did the online bio knock ten years off their age, somehow they had gone from being African-American to Caucasian.  (And no, they cannot pass for white though I have several friends who could.)  I wondered where the search site did their search.

I know that online info about me is not all correct.  There are addresses I have never lived at and folks I have never heard of associated with my name.

I have heard and read several cautions about what we put online.  I got to thinking about all of this when I was asked last week to participate in a research study being conducted at a prestigious California University.  They asked some interesting questions about the info I put online, had I ever lied about info, and have I ever regretted something I posted.

I have tried to be very conscious of how much I share.  And I admit that there are a few old posts which I eventually deleted.  Of course, I am not in the job market so I do not have to worry about a prospective employer learning something I would rather he didn't know.  Of course, I do know of someone who was fired for lying on their resume about degrees they never attained and I can't help but think that if Google had always been available he might never have been hired in the first place.  That is, if we can believe what is online.  Which we can't always do.

Do you 'Google' people?

12 comments:

  1. I have googled people and it usually brings me to a facebook page. What was interesting is I googled some long dead relatives and got some info from ancestry stuff. Why would you long ago friend lie about her race? Why isn't she proud of her African-American heritage I wonder??

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    1. It was not her page. It was one of those pages that purports to be providing information on someone. I am not even sure if she knows the page exists. Not having contact with her for 15 years I sure don't want to make contact based on that page.

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  2. Yes, I do google people. And I do google myself and family members - not out of vanity, but perhaps more out of paranoia. We all need to be aware of our online presence plus what others may be saying about us. Especially with young people, it is surprising what can show up. (Great post, and I am going to feature it on my Sunday blog post roundup.) Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post. It was inspired by being asked to participate in that research project I mentioned. I am guessing they found my blog while 'googling'.

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  3. Nope, can't say I ever have Googled myself or anyone I know. I am now off to Google me.

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    1. Lol. You might be surprised at what you find. I found my neighbor's anniversary in a Google search.

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    2. All I got was a picture of me and several other people who mean nothing to me so don't know why they are there. It mentioned my Twitter account which I don't use. Nothing else.

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    3. I found you when I put in ' jo and matt Henderson blogger Canada'.

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    4. I tried that and all I got was my blog link. Nothing about me.

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    5. Then I changed Henderson to Wake and got lots of hits on my blog. Henderson is a family name for Matt. Blogger wouldn't let me use my actual last name of Wake.

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  4. Sometimes. I find it's good practice to Google myself - I find reviews of my book, etc., that I would have never known existed otherwise.

    Googling images is hilarious. The first few photos are of me, but after that, definitely not! Especially when it comes to my given name.

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    1. I never thought about looking for images. I'll have to check that out.

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