Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesday Teachings

Out in that vast space known as the World Wide Web, who is looking 4 you? I ask this because many bloggers don't really understand that once they have started their own blog, they have put themselves out there. What does the world know about you? What are others saying, blogging or writing about you? How can you find out?

First do a search of yourself. Type your name into your favourite search engine, hit enter, and review the results. I would suggest doing this a few times with different search engines. Are the results what you expected? You may be surprised to find a link to the message you posted on a mailing list four years ago. But this is the thing to remember: every time you post something, whether it be a post for your blog or a message on a mailing list, you put yourself out there for others to see. Furthermore, it is out there forevermore.

Now that you know what the rest of the world can see about you, you can take some positive steps to keep on top of the situation.
First, keep your personal information to a minimum. Using you real name is okay, but I would suggest withholding information such as your birth date. Never post your address or personal telephone number. I know you know this. However, you would be surprised at the number of people who put their birth date including the year on their blog or facebook® profile. When in doubt, don't post it.

Next, I suggest using Google™ Alert. Google™ Alert allows you to enter any search term, such as your name. You can set it to search numerous names. I have my alerts set to search for: Kathryn Lake, Kathryn Hogan, & Kathryn Lake Hogan. The search engine will automatically search the World Wide Web for any and all search terms you have chosen. You will be alerted by email when something is found. This allows you to find out what is being posted about you.

And while you are at it, why not have Google™ Alert do some family history research for you too? Enter the names of your ancestors. Anytime anything is posted that matches your search criteria, you will be notified. What a time saver!

I hope you are feeling better about knowing what the world knows about you. Remember, be smart, be savvy and use your alerts.