You Are What You Blog

Reading this article only reaffirms why I’ve been cautious to disclose too much personal information on the ‘net. A number of people have made it clear that my site would be much more interesting if more personal info was divulged. Google is powerful weapon for those who seek to know more. Maybe I should start a separate blog posting anonymously. πŸ˜‰

…Googling people is also becoming a way for bosses and headhunters to do continuous and stealthy background checks on employees, no disclosure required. Google is an end run around discrimination laws, inasmuch as employers can find out all manner of information — some of it for a nominal fee — that is legally off limits in interviews: your age, your martial status, the value of your house (along with an aerial photograph of it), the average net worth of your neighbors, fraternity pranks, stuff you wrote in college, liens, bankruptcies, political affiliations, and the names and ages of your children.

I fear for the friendster, facebook, myspace generation posting their every thought and photo for the world to see…

  • Yes, I think I am screwed. Some of the things I have put my name to on the internet have allready come back to haunt me…

    Guess the only thing to do is dig deeper…

  • Brandon

    Well – also consider that Google has a cache even of posts you’ve made and later deleted. Now that’s scary.

  • friendster is just a baaad, baaaaaaad idea, really. too frikkin easy for ppl to track you down that way. it only works for happy innocent teen in love, really. the rest of us, i really think it’s the worst thing you could do on the net.

  • I’ve thought about this when I first started blogging, and that’s why I don’t use my real name on my website. If my friends mention my name in a comment, I’ll let it slide. I definitely never mention my last name, and have made it a point not to go into too much detail about employers. I can still talk about personal things, but my life isn’t such an open book this way.

    It’s different if you’re a designer or photographer, because you *have to* put your name out there.

  • Brandon

    Treespotter – I never really ‘got’ what was so great about friendster. I think I made an account a couple of years back just to try it out, but found it pretty much a high-school level of socialization.

    By the way – you’re competent with design – what’s up with myspace pages? They all look like 1996 Yahoo Geocities – flashing animated GIFs, tacky backgrounds, cheezy music playing – gue bingung.

  • Brandon

    Lao – I didn’t used to use my name, back in 2002 when I was on Blogger – but as I started getting into photography, you’re right – you have to get your name out there if you want to make anything of yourself.

    Probably the ‘smart’ approach would have been for me to make an online portfolio with absolutely no personal opinions, thoughts, rantings, etc and then make a completely separate blog anonymously. Many of my fellow expats follow that route – I’d never know if I bumped into any of them.

    If you Google “Brandon Hoover” (which a surprising number of people do for some reason??!?) – you’ll come across my blog right away, followed by my smugmug photos, flickr, and some random projects I participated in a few years back – as well as another product designer, a gay Disneyland employee, and a collegiate football player. Well – I played football, am a designer, but am straight as an arrow. πŸ˜‰

    The ‘net’s a funny place. It’ll just get odder as the decades roll by.

  • and therefore I blog anonymously in the past few months and don’t give out the blog url to my colleagues. But still if google successfully caches my very old archives they probably will find me :-S

  • Brandon

    Well considering what you blogged about today – I don’t blame you! πŸ˜‰

  • I’m torn about this. To make a blog interesting, you sometimes have to pepper it with personal anecdotes. How much is too much? I tend not to blog about anything too personal and especially about current employers, for fear of not being able to rescind my mistakes. If it’s too embarrassing/shameful to tell someone, then I definitely do not want to blog it.

    On the other hand, I want my blogs to live on in cyberspace long after I’ve passed on, no matter how dreadfully boring they might be. So I still do it, but with full knowledge of the consequences.

    I too, have a flickr and myspace accounts with my mugshots. All of my three websites use a variation of my domain name, hence it’s not difficult to get a complete profile of me from these three sources.

    Who knows this comment might bite me in the derriere later on. πŸ˜‰

  • cad

    I wonder if a law will ever become of this googlin’ stuff. Like it’s against the law to discriminate someone because of their personal life, etc. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Hey, I was just browsing along and saw this, and you’ve successfully re-opened some paranoid thoughts of the past. When I first got my blog running, I guarded myself under an alias just out of practical precaution that goes around all this stuff. But now I just put my name on it openly. I guess just because I’m not writing to be obscene. If I were a neo-nazi spewing messages of hate; I guess even then, that person would stand by who they are. I guess I just really don’t care. I like being honest. If I write about work, then I’ll be vague of where I work and all that stuff. And if I need to really write a ‘diary’ sort of entry; then writing a private entry or restricted entry or just having a side livejournal is what that is for. Otherwise; I guess I want to be an open book and don’t even want to go through life on guard. After all; I want to succeed at being me–whatever that can be in the world.

    There. Now I have calmed my dormant paranoia.

  • Oh yes, and I guess that goes along with the obvious. You know if you’ve got a job that you will be held responsible for tearing down their image. If you want to chase after those around you, like your job or friends; then you know there will be consequences unless you want to play stupid. Otherwise; that’s the reality of being an adult in the ‘functioning’ society. If you can’t take something, and want to speak out about it; then you maneuver and take actions to free yourself, and then speak out. That’s the balance, I think–between wearing a mask, or naively trying to go after the cake and eat it, too. And if things are just wrong; then you break the rule and set a precedent, and so things go.

    I think the balance is progressive for the living. πŸ™‚

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