Nowadays people are very aware of privacy. I remember the General Data Protection Regulation becoming a big thing when I was still in primary school. We got some lessons about it and for a short while it became a hit to search your own name on the World Wide Web. When I Google my name now I only find one item that’s about me. It is an article from the church newspaper of the time I attended basiscatechese. I was about 12 years old. It’sfun to read it back. It’s a bit like time traveling.
There are so many different social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and there are so many more. People post pictures online of their food, their friends, their journeys, and so much more. Some people use social media to keep friends and family informed. Other people use social media to keep a sort of diary. Either way, people often only post the nice pictures. People want to show how lucky and happy they are or people only want to keep the good memories. On the one hand, this seems a bit like deception. On the other hand, people can see what you have posted and they do judge. A good reputation can open doors. People and businesses with a good reputation will get more opportunities. So, when posting something online it is important to be careful.
Other people can judge you based on what they find online. It might be your future boss or employer searching you on the World Wide Web. To see what they’d find online, you can go ego surfing. Yes, there is a word for the phenomenon of searching one’s own name on the web. According to the Oxford English Dictionary to ego surf means ‘to search on the internet for mentions of one’s own name or the name of one’s business, website, etc.’ So, not only primary school students search their names on the internet, also businesses do so. I remember that my father told me that where he works, there is this big screen showing all the posts online in which the company is being mentioned. Big companies do ego surfing on a big scale.
The incognito window
People say that when searching your name on the internet, you should use an incognito window to get a more realistic picture of what other people would get to see. Keep in mind, though, that other people will still not see the exact same search results as you. When they use, for example, Google they will get to see personalized search results based on their cookie preferences when they are not using the incognito window. Besides, incognito is not the same as anonymous. You can still be traced. For me using the incognito window did give different results. I found back my old Prezi account, of which I had already forgotten its existence.
A good reputation opens doors. On the World Wide Web we can check what we have posted earlier and also what other people have posted about us. This gives us the possibility to look at ourselves from the perspective of others. This is quiet handy, especially for businesses. When they notice that they have a bad reputation, they might be able to do something about it. For individuals it might be handy too, but it might also just be fun. I hope that when you search yourselves online you will find nice memories like I did when I found the church newspaper article.
Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “ego-surf, v.”, July 2023. https://doi.org/10.1093/OED/8732308855