Friday, January 4, 2008

Just doing my part to be a part of the percentage of people who Google themselves on a regular basis.

Confession: I Google myself (and other people I know) on a fairly regular basis.

I Google new people I meet, colleagues, friends, and yes even ex-boyfriends. I Google myself so I know what others would see if they Google me, and in an interest of privacy as well. What kind of information is available about me? The other night, I had a great conversation about the process of Googling yourself and the role of information combed from the internet used in interviews. A friend of mine recently obtained a position at a financial institution. During one of her many interviews, it was brought up that the interviewer had viewed her blog. My friend was taken aback at the forwardness of this question, and inquired as to what her impressions were. One of our companions chimed in that he just interviewed an amazing woman for a position at his firm, and was considering looking her up on social networking sites as well. I inquired as to what he would do with that information, say if she displayed photographs of her in a social setting with alcoholic beverages. The woman is of age, and does it matter to an employer what an employee partakes in between business hours? The conversation quickly moved to the idea of managing one's internet profile, through various sites. The lines between professional and personal are blurring, as I network with librarians on Facebook. Once a space exclusively for friends, it is now in someways an online resume with details of who I know, jobs I have had, educational background, as well as a tool to communicate with family scattered around. There is also the element of what content is missing from the profile, and in today's world among savvy internet users could arguably speak volumes.

Carl Sagan said, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" (and which a Google search reveals that Rumsfeld co-opted this in regards to Iraq's WMD.) As a student of anthropology and astronomy, I would often mull this over in my head. So how much can we know about someone through a Google search? Part of what I like about having a web presense is that it can give a personal aspect to oneself, outside of professional duties, experiences and accomplishments. Part of who I am outside the reference desk. But, I am increasingly becoming aware of the need to mediate that and establish a bit of authority control on what is out there. Registering a domain, having a central location for writing and blogging, about libraries, about running, about my hobbies and interests and professional activities which bleed into each other.

1 comment:

ben said...

i google myself regularly, but have yet to learn anything new and still can't figure out who i am...