Worldly Talk

Civil discussion and debate on real world events and issues.

Web Presence

Web Presence

So, I saw what Rodrigo was saying about how easy it is to piece together a web identity online, and I decided I would run a search of myself to see what came up. It's been quite some time since I last did it (years), so I'd see if there was anything I wasn't aware of.

Using my full first and last name, on the first page of Google I saw a link to "mylife" (never heard of the site before) giving name, location, and age for myself, sister, brother, father, mother, and grandfather. (This was one of those HOLY COW moments.) Second page had a review for a flintlock I had posted up some years ago.

Using my more typical first name (the shortened version), there was my facebook page (nothing surprising there), an interview that was done with me... seven years ago? about a game I was project lead for, some Civil War stuff, and a picture of me out in a desert.

I guess I'm relieved that that's "all" there is about me out there on the first three pages of a google search, but it's certainly not a comfortable feeling to realize just how much is out there. And it's frighteningly simple to link up things like account names to real names, particularly with the advent of facebook.

So, what are your thoughts on the privacy of the internet? Is it gone and irretrievable in this day and age? Is it better to merely accept rather than to fight it? Is it necessarily a bad thing?

I dunno. If you put in my real name, you don't get me at all... helps that there's a famous director (among other people) with the same name. You could even put in my home town or current residence and nary a peep comes up.

Now, if you search for my forum name, you get 15,300 hit that are all 100% me... but then, this is who I am on the web

No problem at all. I always respected online life as real life.
We should keep it secret: phone number, email address in work
It will avoid spam.
Get Rid Of Timeshare

I get a whole bunch of political stuff under my real name as well as my forum names... I used to run a blog that covered Wisconsin Politics and I wasn't top tier but had quite a few people following daily and was good friends and got lots of links from some of the popular ones out there. Then one of those popular guys got fired for updating his blog at work and I never made another post again!

But yeah, my political views and nerd hobbies are both readily apparent under my real name. Hopefully I'll never have to go on first dates again or they'll think I have nothing going on in life besides politics and World of Warcraft. I should use my real name to discuss fishing or football or something.

You get a few links to my Google+ profile, which doesn't provide any information, and a few links to my track and field days in college, and that's about it.

There are only 7 people with my first and last name in the UK, so I have to be fairly careful.

Thankfully my Facebook profile is pretty private (very few posts are public and I'd never accept my employer as a friend on there, worlds colliding and all that), not indexed by search engines, and I rarely (if ever) make my main email address public on any web profile I make.

My phone number is only publicly available on my CV (resumé for the American readers) so I could narrow it down if someone was to cold call my mobile phone to either an auto dialler or someone was a very naughty person in violation of the Data Protection Act.

I was (barely) clever enough to use a biblical phrase as a forum name, so that at least doesn't trace back to me without considerable effort and prior knowledge on the part of the searcher. My full name, of course, pins me to the wall like a butterfly. Doesn't bother me much either way. I've got nothing to hide.

If you put in my real name, only a couple of things from me come up - one of them being my buddy's MySpace, my Facebook (if you do the search right) or a couple links to when I made the newspaper during Slow News Week. Most of them are either my father (same name) or some director.
I lost a bet on that one. I'd always expected to make the news and have it involve something along the lines of "Wanted for questioning in relation to..." or something like that, not charity work.

My account name turns up a book and a movie. My other account names tend to come up with blog posts and when I haunted wargaming forums.

This is all significantly more than even a year ago. The Internet is shrinking.

For those of you who think that anything on Facebook is private... it's not. Nothing you put on the internet is private. At best, there's the illusion of privacy.

I'm so much of a non-entity that neither my real name nor my main alias feature at all on the first page of google search.

My WoW name features multiple times though (Clearly I was a pretty big deal ).

I'm not too worried either way, nothing I do is especially likely to cause a response. In fact I'm pretty sure that being a geek has gained me more jobs than it's cost me. I've had good luck with geeky bosses :P.


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