What do people who don’t know you, know ABOUT you?

For a while now I have been wondering just what can be found out about me – online.

The first inkling of how easy it is was some years ago when on day 2 of a 5 day course, one of the students told me “I googled you last night.” For a horrorfying moment I feared he was opening up about some wierd dream, hoping he would go no further on the subject. Then he explained what he had read. (Phew was my immediate rection).

Later came the curosity. So I googled myself. According to Google I am the only one online with my name. As it is a European name, it is highly likely that if there is another with the same name, we would both appear. I googled my sister. She has a name-double. Her double is an artist.

I have yet to buy MS Office 2013. Yet discussing the changes with an acquaintence I was astonished that when it picks up your name for e-mail, it goes out and FINDS some image of you online. Now I wonder just which pictures it would find of me.

A few weeks ago I decided to start a separate industry-related blog on an industry web site. It is a professional organisation, you pay to be a member.  I was surprised when I logged in there to discover it had a picture against my name (a sort of avatar I assume). But not one I would have expected. My nephew-in-law’s company profile picture modified once for some occasion – spring day maybe. The webmaster can’t tell me where the picture came from. She deleted and re-created the name. Still the same picture.

So somewhere on the web, I am irrevocably linked to that picture.

I suppose I am relieved it is a pretty harmless one really.



14 thoughts on “What do people who don’t know you, know ABOUT you?

  1. My real name’s out there somewhere, with my photo attached numerous times thanks to Facebook and the likes, which I don’t use anymore. I can’t find me when I Google me now, which is good, I think, and I seem to have more of a web presence under my web persona now. Although I’m not completely counting my chickens.
    It can be a frightening place this internet at times, Sideview, especially where our identities are concerned.

  2. Kind of scary. I have had to come out of my secrecy closet almost completely because of the writing and stuff, and initially it worried the heck out of me. Now although I know that it will take no real effort to track down what I have for breakfast, lunch and supper it doesn’t particularly worry me.
    Interestingly, Google seems to try and focus on what you will want to know based on your profile, and won’t necessarily come up with the same results for another person.

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