The Good, The Bad & The Googled

I admit it, I google myself.  A lot.  Sometimes two, three times a week.

It started innocently, sparked by a tangent on a recent #hcsmca chat.  We were brainstorming ways to use social media as a recruitment tool for health care practitioners when a few of us got sidetracked, debating the ethics of using Google as an HR screening tool. 

Ethics aside (that’s a discussion for another time and place), this conversation made me realize that all kinds of people could be using Google to find out more about me.  After all, I’ve googled people before simply to find their contact information, I shouldn’t be surprised if someone is doing the same to me.  It concerned me, though; like most of my generation, I’ve grown up on the internet and as a teen I didn’t have the foresight to realize that what I wrote could be around forever.  What are people finding?!

I had to google myself.

I expected to find forum posts written in L337speak and livejournal entries full of teen angst. What I found were outdated profiles for long lost accounts and high school/university award programmes mixed in with a slew of pages on another Alaina Cyr (a nurse from Texas).  After more than 15 years of living on the internet, I was prepared to deal with the embarrassing and even incriminating.  What I found was even worse: on the internet, I’m boring!

For some people in some industries, that would be a good thing.  In social media, your online identity is vital for making a good impression with your peers.  I was gutted to find that I was dull and uninteresting and resolved to take ownership over my Google results, admittedly a much easier task for someone with a unique name like mine.  I created this site, updated my LinkedIn profile, and registered AlainaBCyr on twitter (I was too late for AlainaCyr) to gain some control over how my name is represented.

And I google myself regularly to keep tabs on my name.

What does google say about you?  Share in the comments!

5 thoughts on “The Good, The Bad & The Googled

  1. There are a lot of me’s out there…. I’m a music grad from Florida, someone who still used myspace last year, a faculty member at an Alberta college, an Emotional Support Teacher, a Project Manager at Health Management Research Center, a 2nd grade teacher, an insurance agent, dead, etc. etc.

    When you goggle my full name, however, you find our family tree (on one of your old sites) and my university graduates list.

    I don’t want people to be able to find me… Too many bad experiences…

      • My work’s website is the only other website that is linked to my name that is actually me. I would change that if I could, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

  2. I’ll jump on the bandwagon and admit that I google myself every now and then, mainly to get ahead of employers and make sure that they find nothing that could negatively influence their decision to hire me.

    The good news is, not many people in the world share my name with the same spelling, so it is 100% guaranteed from every time someone googles my name that the results in the first 2 pages are all about me.

    The bad news is, when I googled myself this morning, Klout was the first result I got. Not really sure what that means, but at least it is followed by a link to an article I wrote for an oncology journal, so that makes up for it I guess.

    • Thanks for the comment!
      I google myself for the same reason, plus it always helps to know what people are saying/seeing about you.
      Having your klout page come up first is not necessarily a bad thing given your score, though I’m sure you’d prefer your personal site to be front and centre.

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