Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Am I that popular?

Just read this on cleaning up digital dirt so employers don't get an eyeful when googling you. The article's main suggestion starts with googling yourself, so I figured, hey, why not? My phillyist profile page came up first. Exciting! This blog did not. Most likely because my name isn't affiliated with it. But anyway. As nice as it is to think I am the coolest one with my name in the universe, or at least the most newsworthy, I know at least that the latter is not true; there's a few professors in the UK doing the academic thing and publishing books and articles and whatnot, and on more reliable sites even. So what's up?

Though I don't get the google algorithm, a talk by this guy hipped me to at least one facet of it: google remembers you, and remembers your search history, such that future displayed search results are affected by said history. Spooky huh? Also adds another wrinkle to the addage that the web and its accoutrement are serving to isolate people intellectually, politically, etc. by allowing them to segregate into areas where they only interact with people who think and feel as they do. You may think you're searching for a multitude of viewpoints on a topic, but if you've been searching and clicking and refining on topics related to it, google might just guess what you're really looking for.

Anyway, this is to say that I suspect I will not truly uncover "digital dirt" about myself by vanity googling, since google knows I search using "Philadelphia" and "Penn" a lot, and probably took that into account. I may never know what my boss is finding out about me, as we speak even. Hi there! I'm a productive employee who never blogs on work time!

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