I wrote a similar post on this topic for the blog I maintain for the Missouri State Teachers Association, but I strongly feel the content is just as relevant to professionals and students. Particularly in light of recent comments by Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, which “outlined his dystopian vision of the future, in which children change their names at adulthood to escape damning online dossiers — dossiers of the sort stored by Google.” (Missed it? Click here for the article.)
It is not narcissistic to want to know what information is out there about you, especially if you are looking for a new position or may be up for a promotion, because until you know what is out there, you can’t do anything about it.
Prime example, if you Google “Aurora Meyer” a Facebook page that is not mine shows up in the first page of results. At least she is not the previous Aurora Meyer, who lived in Egypt (a country I have yet to visit), with a questionable business. Try explaining that in an interview situation without know why the interviewer is asking if you have ever visited Egypt.
Ideally, you shouldn’t be adding or allowing others to add information that you would want to hide from in 10 years. But that isn’t always possible so it is better to be prepared.
I always suggest setting an alert up for your name, e-mail address and business with and without quotes. Once you’ve gotten the basic ones set up, you can add more alerts. Google will let you create up to 1,000.
For those new to Social Mention or Google Alerts, you might notice that not every item is about what you asked it to search for—that’s ok. You’ll learn how to filter at a glance what is relevant and what isn’t.
Fair Warning: These services are not fool-proof. You will still need to Google yourself regularly and scroll through more than the first few pages of results.