The other day I read about the new feature, “Google profile,” and immediately recalled an opening line to an essay I read a year ago!
I’ll admit, I can hardly remember what I did yesterday, but there it was, front and center on the shores of my memory banks.
The first line of Frank Bures’ essay from the March/April 2008, issue of Poets & Writers magazine, “I have a confession to make. I google myself.”
Bures referred to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, “Almost half (47 percent) of people who responded to the survey have Googled themselves at some point, a 22 percent jump from just five years ago.”
Pretty interesting, but don’t worry—I’m not going to ask you if you’ve ever Googled yourself—that’s between you and your search engine. But how much do you think about profiles; those varied length lines on online forms, where we enter identifying pieces of information about ourselves, which then go out to the world in a flash? Or better yet, how much should we be thinking about it?
When it gets right down to it, what do you really want people to know about you? Especially if the social network profile is one like Google’s which is going to presumably come up pretty high on the search results, that is of course, if you add enough information e.g. your job title, where you work, your hometown.
Tom McNichol writes in a recent article, “Why Google Wants You To Google Yourself,”
“The similarity to Facebook is no accident. Google profiles are the search giant’s fiendishly clever attempt to turn your ego-surfing pain into their gain. By giving users a modicum of control over the results that appear on a search for their name, Google hopes to establish a social network beachhead and take on wildly popular stes like Facebook and MySpace…If you’re already using Gmail for email, Google Maps for directions and Google’s Picassa for photo-sharing, you may wind up spending more time with your Google profile than your Facebook or MySpace page.”
Some days I just want to slow down the universe a little, have time to play catch-up. Take a time-out. Think before I fill out another profile form. I’m social networking open-minded and everything, but sometimes I want to take a moment to decide what and where I want to share. I think that’s fair game.
If used to its fullest advantage, the Google Profile has the potential to be one of the most effective ones out there, the way you can be found and associated with the information relevant to your life and work. So I’ll get to it, probably sooner then later. But in the meantime, I’m still grappling with the “my superpower” field.
Hmm, my superpower?