Sunday, October 10, 2010

Digital Footprint

So, you're sitting at your computer oneday, you've got 10min free and you think "hey let me google myself." You open a your favorite browser and type your name as a search term, your name is either common in which case the chance of finding somthing that is relevant to you is not that likely, or worse your name is very unique and a wealth of information pops up in the search results.

You find blog posts, forum posts, book reviews, entries in public records, maybe home adress and phone numbers, details of direcotrships and legal proceedures, maybe 5 years ago you posted a sexy picture of yourself. You are shocked at the volume and depth of information out there on you !

You ideally would like this information to be private. "Hmm", you think, I wonder if I can write an email to Google, Yahoo and Microsoft asking them to remove me from thier search database. Think again, you are online, you have a digital footprint whether you like it or not. If you lucky your footprint is positive, if not you are in deep water.

So how do you mitigate this data, change the search results and get a more positive digital footprint ? Here are some steps you can take:
(1) Purchase a web domain containing your name, it must have your name in it, however extra characters do not matter.
(2) Make a simple webpage, use one of the blogging sites if you have too and point the Domain name to that site, make sure
 you write somthing nice and positive about yourself.
(3) Add the website to Google and other webmaster tools (so that the search engine knows to index your site)
(4) Create accounts on LinkedIn and start writting on forums relating to your professional life.
(5) Any social networking site that has a profile section, fill it out nicely and positively , give only the information that you want to be public.
(6) See if there is anyway of removing any unwanted data from "offending" websites.
The idea here is that you are going to swamp out the old data and replace it with more recent, "clean" data. Bear in mind that people and c
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ompanies are doing more and more searches on personal online footprints, and the tendency is for this to continue.

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