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They call it “ego surfing” – when you sit down in front of the computer, go to Google (or whatever search engine you prefer), and find out what information there is about you online. I do it quite often – not out of a sense of egotism – but out of a desire to control my online presence and to make sure that I am presented in the best possible light if anyone searches for me. Along the way, I’ve discovered that my name is shared by an Australian rugby player and a Scottish museum director, who regularly shove me out of the way in Google Alerts 4 Things You Can Use Google Alerts To Monitor The Web For 4 Things You Can Use Google Alerts To Monitor The Web For Some of you may have forgotten due to all of their recent developments and projects on the side, but Google is still a search engine at its core. With tens of millions of pages indexed,... Read More .

But there is another very good reason for “Googling” yourself – to find out if any private and sensitive information about yourself and / or your family has ended up online somehow.  Maybe you accidently changed your Facebook privacy settings and your mobile phone number is now public? Or maybe a disgruntled former friend or colleague is bad mouthing you online?  Both of these scenarios have happened to me in the past and speaking from those experiences, I can assure you that these are things you need to be aware about right away so you can do something about it.  At the very least, too much information about you online can lead to a serious risk of your identity being stolen.

Our infographic today is on this very subject. After looking it over, let us know your thoughts on the subject, and then do yourself a favour this weekend.  Google yourself and make sure that we are not finding things out about yourself that shouldn’t be found out.  Remember, what goes on the Internet stays on the Internet – for a very long time.

Infographic Source: www.backgroundcheck.org
Image Source: Betobeto

  1. Tiffany Kie
    December 8, 2015 at 4:12 am

    Found my youtube and google+ AND A private picture of my sister Now im Worried. Thanks for informing me!

  2. Lamees Al Shareef
    December 27, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Thanks, i found out i hv a social account that i forgot abt (canceled nw).

  3. Igor Rizvi?
    August 10, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Found an athlete,a dj ,and some science dude with my same name and surname XD

  4. Kurt Decker
    August 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    I always knew anytime that you went online that you left a web print in the sand. I never realized that some many people were paying that much attention to it.

  5. Donna Shaw
    August 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    All I found were my Amazon reviews. I didn't even see the website I created for my students LOL

    • Mark O'Neill
      August 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      If it was a website for your students, does the site have your name in a prominent position?

      • Donna Shaw
        August 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm

        Right in the URL :)

        • Aditya Roy
          August 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm

          Use brandyourself

  6. Becky Bowman
    August 8, 2012 at 3:39 am

    My sister-in-law and I have the same name and, unfortunately, she doesn't pay her bills. I have stopped answering my phone because I'm getting HER collection calls. When I Googled myself part of her information was under my name and I've yet to figure out how to get it to go away.

    • Tina
      August 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      Becky,

      As someone posted above, try this article to influence your search result and get your sister-in-law's search results off your first page: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/optimize-google-search-results-brandyourself/

      Good luck!

    • Mark O'Neill
      August 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Maybe it's time for you to adopt a middle name so you have a different name online? Just choose a letter and have that as a middle initial. Anything to distinguish you from your S-I-L.

  7. Christopher Harlan
    August 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    It's cool, but kinda scary how much you can find out about yourself online. I always search my main username online and see EVERYthing that pops up... odd :P

  8. Kylee Kanavas
    August 7, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Im glad i dont social network!

  9. Brian
    August 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    my only suggestion on the infographic is that it's better to open a new private/incognito/etc browser window instead of simply logging out of your google account..

    • Mark O'Neill
      August 6, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      That's actually a great idea. I never thought of that before. I will have to remember that. :-)

  10. Sabih Ismail
    August 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I can't really find myself online, I find other people with similar names.

  11. Minekokami
    August 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Fortunately there are many others with the same name as I piddling about the internet. I've taken measures to wipe accounts I used ages ago, as a child. But for usernames on sites I can't get a grip on because I've lost access to the e-mail addresses they're associated with, protecting myself is easy -- I never mention or use the username again.

  12. Scutterman
    August 5, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I googled myself a while ago (searching for Scutterman and my real name separately), made sure all of the results were clean, then set up a couple of google alerts. Now any time a new result that could be about me is indexed, I know about it within 24 hours.

  13. Chirag Sharma
    August 5, 2012 at 6:29 am

    I share my name with a self proclaimed tech guru & a lawn tennis enthusiast so there is too much information about Chirag Sharma in the search result, but that's just not me so I don't really have to worry.

  14. Fred
    August 5, 2012 at 5:58 am

    I used to get hits on a singer with my name. Now I keep getting hits for a community activist. Also a guy in the documentary, Roger and Me. Nothing about myself.

  15. Va Du
    August 5, 2012 at 5:41 am

    If you're the type who willing gives out info about yourself, you should not be surprised it's on the web. You should blame yourself for not being smarter about what you share.

  16. Suman Acharya
    August 5, 2012 at 2:16 am

    i do search for me once a month or twice. as I love and enjoy securities offered by social sites, not all my own friends can view all of my info!!
    who the heck is a wandering Googler?....:P

  17. Juan Carlos Espinosa Agudelo
    August 5, 2012 at 1:20 am

    There was an article about a website that helps us with this:
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/optimize-google-search-results-brandyourself/

    Hope it helps anyone

    • Aditya Roy
      August 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      I have used brand yourself.. I pushed my blog up by 4 place.. :P

  18. tarzan2001
    August 5, 2012 at 12:43 am

    I google myself every once in a while to make sure there isn't anything odd on the interwebs. Thankfully, I've got most of it under control and feel pretty happy about what's out there. :)

  19. Laga Mahesa
    August 5, 2012 at 12:22 am

    I'm the same as you, Mark, control of my online presence. Thankfully I became aware when I was young that submitting anything to the Internet is essentially the same as writing the same with a blowtorch on a metal wall; you can only realistically hope that the metal wall disappears one day and that nobody takes a photo of it.

  20. Jon Smith
    August 4, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Question: Is it bad to be totally unsearchable? Like my name?

    • Laga Mahesa
      August 5, 2012 at 12:24 am

      Not if you're main focus is privacy and your field of expertise isn't related to IT. However, if you're a programmer, tech journo, marketer, etc, it is extremely valuable as a way for clients and employers to gauge your abilities.

      Also, don't forget usernames and email handles.

    • Jay Maynard
      August 5, 2012 at 7:15 am

      When I google my name, the only results I get are the Tron guy. :( Rest assured, I AM NOT the Tron guy.

      • Vociferous Carmichael
        August 10, 2012 at 1:26 am

        That's hilarious.

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