Posts Tagged privacy

Googled yourself lately?

From Seth Godin this week: Personal Branding in the Age of Google.

It surprises me a bit to see Godin writing about such a well-trodden subject. Hasn’t it been the “age of Google” for almost a decade now? While his post is about all of the well-known ways Google search results can hurt you in the professional sphere, there’s been far less attention paid to how the relative permanence and authority ranking by Google can help your branding – as an organization or as an individual.

A quick Googling of my own name turned up about fourteen pages of results filled with (in order of appearance):

I’d say this is a pretty accurate and fair representation of who I am, what I’ve done, and where my professional and personal expertise lies. And for a person with a relatively uncommon last name, I have a fairly long Google record. This is unsurprising; I live a lot of my life on the Internet, and don’t expend too much effort trying to keep things from showing up in Google results… as Godin advises, “The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you’re on Candid Camera, because you are.”

I am predicting, however, that the matter of maintaining one’s own Google presence will become both more urgent and more complicated in the future. Employers, prospects, and customers will start being as concerned about what isn’t discoverable about you on Google as what is. Claim to be an expert on a subject, but Google can’t find any articles you’ve written on it? Advertise that your company has top tier customer service, but it has no presence on social networking sites, and no visible responses to conversations about your product? While there may have been perfectly valid excuses for these scenarios five years ago, this is not the case today.

It’s tough (and in some cases impossible) to erase the online record of things you wish you’d never done or said. But it’s never too late to start doing the opposite – leaving a long-term trail of realistic, flattering, and credible evidence to support the values of your brand.

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Twitter – in Step with Society

I just watched an entire interview take place over Twitter between Jamie Gangle, Today Show National Correspondent, and Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the US House of Representatives.  Appropriately, the interview was on the use and importance of Twitter.

It’s true, as Newt Gingrich tweets, that Twitter teaches you a new style of writing.  And while you may not want to carry over the cryptic Twitter lingo that makes deciphering tweets unbearably difficult, the 140 character limit does force you to write succinctly – something most writers strive for when faced with a maximum word count.  The exception, of course, being the college student struggling to complete a report even with 1.25″ margins and double spacing.

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Will Twitter be the next great fad of the century – or is it already?  Will the once-popular cell-phone privacy scare of being able to be reached anytime anywhere spring up once again?  Highly doubtful.  Newt Gingrich, for one, seems to be embracing the increasing interconnectedness of the world through technology; something most people of his generation are not ashamed to admit they are behind the times.

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Indeed, people now-a-days do not seem to be afraid of a lack of privacy, but a lack of publicity.  People have so many ways to be in touch with the world and for the world to be in touch with them that it’s become a common desire and need to feel connected, so as not to be forgotten.  This “electronic intimacy,” as Newt Gingrich calls it, is here to stay and Twitter seems to be keeping right in step with society – even if it is only 140 characters with some slightly obscure Twitter lingo (Twingo?).

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Where is privacy hiding?

Privacy issues are surfacing everywhere…

Two weeks ago Facebook suffered its third outrage around user privacy after announcing terms of agreement changes that had users horrified that their data and content could become property of the behemoth social network; on Monday, New York Times reporter Saul Hansell wrote an article about the World Privacy Forum’s most recent report on cloud computing privacy concerns; and just yesterday, John Foley covered a new survey by Kelton Research in InformationWeek’s blog Plug Into the Cloud, showing that security concerns are one of the top two reasons holding businesses back from adopting cloud services.

While the connection between Facebook and cloud computing may not seem that clear at first, they both support the undeniable fact that everything is moving online.

To give you a better example of how closely these social and high-tech applications are connected, take a look at Google’s Gmail outage earlier this week. While Gmail accounts via Web access were down for approximately 2.5 hours, Venturebeat reports that people accessing it through their IMAP accounts – what you might use on an iPhone – never even noticed there was a problem… a clear “victory” for cloud computing, according to Tim Beyers of Motley Fool.

It’s clear that cloud computing and social applications like Facebook and Gmail are here to stay, but until we can find ways to adequately meets concerns for privacy, people – and businesses – are just going to have to decide if potentially losing some privacy is worth the benefits.

(…As I was writing this, TechCrunch tweeted a new story on Facebook’s plans to open it’s terms of service for user input – staying true to its roots of promoting a more open and shared environment. Will be interesting to see what ensues….)

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