Are you Googlable?

I just realized that not everyone has an online presence. For example, if you google me by either by my full name, or one of my online handles you will get bunch of hits. First of them are usually this website, from which you can find links to all other kinds of stuff related to me. Users of myspace and facebook can also fine me with relative ease. I’m also on twitter, flickr and etc…

I’m a fairly private person, and I never really post about my private life on any website or social network. Sometimes I do rant about clueless users, or annoying people I know – these are the kinds of things I don’t mind sharing. But even then I usually avoid using real names, specific locations and etc..

But I do have an online presence, and if someone wanted to know what I’m up to, they could easily find this website, check out my pictures on myspace, flicker and facebook, and follow me on twitter. In fact I had some people I lost touch with long time ago will sometimes randomly find me on one of these networks and send me a note. Which is really nice. The one good thing about all these social networks is that you can find people this way and reconnect with them.

Sometimes I forget that not everyone has this kind of online presence. If you can’t be googled, you are not on myspace or facebook and you don’t participate in any other social networks, you are essentially dead to the world. This might be a good thing if you are in a witness protection program of some sort. But having some sort of minimal presence out there really pays off in the end.

I’m not saying everyone should divulge their deepest secrets in their blog or journal. I’m just saying that having your name indexed by google, and pointing to a valid site with your contact info is usually a good thing.

Of course posting to much of your shit online might not be good either – seeing how recruiters now do research on potential candidates online. If your facebook page has 600+ pictures of your drunker debaucheries it will probably count against you. But if on the other hand it includes a link to your different projects it might actually work in your benefit.

I think I lost my train of thought here. I’m not sure anymore what point I was trying to make here. I guess it is this: a positive online presence is a good thing – the benefits outweigh the potential risks, and apparent loss of privacy.

Thoughts? What do you think are the pros and cons of having some sort of online presence, versus completely flying below the radar?

[tags]social networks, myspace, facebook, online presence, google[/tags]

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8 Responses to Are you Googlable?

  1. Ricardo BRAZIL Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I disagree. I googlable online presence is not that important if you have a online presence with a instant messenger or e-mail.

    Of course that way you would need to be proactive towards your friends and family not to loose contact but would be still accessible online all the time.

    I avoid specially the social networks because there you are sharing too many private stuff (photos, friends, notes, opinions, habits, etc.) most of the time without knowing that it could be a valuable information to someone with bad intentions.

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  2. Ricardo BRAZIL Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Sorry. By “I googlable online presence…” I meant “A googlable online presence…”.

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  3. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox SuSE Linux says:

    Good point. I think privacy is the paramount issue here. But just having an email doesn’t alow you to re-connect with old childhood friends, former students and etc.

    If I don’t know your email address there is no way for me to contact you. But if you do have a Myspace/ Facebook account, or a personal website there is a chance I could look you up just by your name.

    Or say we met randomly at some party. I don’t know your name, but we shared common interests. Now I could ask around other people who were at the party about you, but unless you are a pretty girl, I probably wouldn’t care enough.

    But if you are on some social network, the chances are you might be on the “friends” list of someone I know. This way I could easily locate you and drop you a note. And etc…

    Privacy is definitely a major, major concern. But then again, you are always the person who controls how much private info about you exists online.

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  4. Craig Betts UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS Terminalist says:

    LOL! I did a google on “Craig Betts”, and this first hit (third on the list) that was actually me was on your web site!

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  5. Craig Betts UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS Terminalist says:

    I am relieved . . . I googled “Craig A. Betts” (using the quotes) and got the whole page.

    My e-ego is quite happy now. :-)

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  6. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I’m a complete google-ghost
    If you put my name in in quotes then you get 680 hits, but none of them are me

    Actually there may be one from a school I used to go to, but I’m not completely sure – some friends and me tried this a while back and I can’t remember if it was me or one of the others who found themself that way.

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  7. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox SuSE Linux says:

    Craig – when I google for “Craig A. Betts” the first hit seems to be your twitter. :)

    I just realized something… It probably sucks to be named “John Smith”. If you are, chances of finding yourself on Google are probably slim to none, unless you really have a good page rank.

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  8. I can attest to being contacted by old high school acquaintances who have wandered onto my website. A Google search for my full name will put my web site as the first result, and my e-mail is right at the top of the page, so it’s easy for people to get in touch.

    Reversing that, in the past I have tried to search for people I haven’t talked to in years, but it seems I rarely find anything. Sometimes I find them at Facebook (and behind the registration wall), or on a shitty MySpace page (well, that’s redundant).

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