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Un-Googleable No Longer

I try really hard to keep my personal life offline. My mission is to stay “un-googleable.�? Yes, I have a Facebook, but only to stay connected with out-of-state family members and real life friends. I do not accept friend invitations from random people (even if they say they attend the U of M) and I am extremely cautious about the information that I give online. The article put out by the U of M: Office for Student Affairs, Living In Online Communities, brought up a very real concern in my mind: predatory behavior. It hadn’t occurred to me that listing my class schedule could lead to stalking. It seems strange that Facebook would have such an application, considering its potential for misuse. Needless to say, I was a bit hesitant about creating a Twitter account. I wondered whether my Twitter would show up on a Google search. It did. And so did my last blog post for this class. Apparently, our class blog is publicly viewable. I have failed catastrophically.

Maybe, just maybe, online social networking isn’t all bad. After reading Workstreaming with Microblogs and Chapter 2 of Connect! , I certainly see the potential for increased productivity as a result of work-related blogging. Last week, Jennifer Wigham mentioned the use of text messages as a common form of communication in her line of work. While I’m not big on texting, I see its use in situations like the RNC, where you can’t exactly run out and answer the phone. It seems to me that microblogs (Twitter, Tumblr, Soup.io) are a desktop variation of text messaging. I like the idea that people can update each other at leisure and omit needless details. The word limit present on Twitter is great; it encourages clarity and conciseness.

Works Cited

U of M: Office for Student Affairs. Living in Online Communities: A User's Guide. 2008. 27 Jan 2009. .

Skellie. Streamlining. Workstreaming With Microblogs. 27 Jan 2009. .

Zelenka, Anne. Connect! A Guide to a New Way of Working. 2008. Wiley Publshing: Indianapolis, Indiana.

Comments

Interesting post - I actually love being google-able, and as embarrassing as it is, I Google myself every once in a while to see what shows up. I am connected to people through about 11 sites so my Twitter page hasn't yet hit the first page on Google. I understand your concerns with keeping your private life private however, and have tried to limit some of the information I put out on the web. (It does bother me that these blogs show up on Google, but normally at the end of the semester you can delete them!)

Hannah - I too was avoiding blogs and Facebook type sites and I am still apprehensive about LinkedIn (my boss invited me through another invite from a coworker and now I swear it's just because he wants to keep tabs on me). I guess when I finally jumped in to Facebook I loosened up a bit, and now I have pictures and I am using my real name and everything. I am still nervous someone will end up stalking me, but my husband is 6'4 and 300 pounds, so I feel a little more secure. We are however, extremely careful about what we post regarding our son. We will post photos for family, but we keep the discussion light where he is concerned.

Strangely I felt fine setting up Twitter and even did it from work - I figure 140 characters are more applicable to random thoughts from Liz than to anything that could cause trouble. You are not alone in your attempt to remain beyond Google's all seeing eye. I lost that battle long ago, got a second chance when I got married and had a new last name, and lost again when my mother in law posted a wedding announcement all over everywhere (really just locally, but still google-able). Ah well, with the good sometimes you have to take the bad.