Data Use, Technology, and Educational Leadership

Googling yourself? Don’t use just Google

This ain't me.

This AIN’T me!

“Who is that man living my life?”

That’s a line from a Toby Keith song. It’s also me today.

The above image is of “Vincent Cho” on Microsoft’s version of Google Scholar. But he’s not me; sure he’s got my name, job title, and some of my publications (some are his)… but he’s not me.  It looks like Microsoft’s algorithms created an amalgam of me and another scholar named Vincent Cho.  I’d always known he was out there, but I didn’t realize that his face would become mine…

On a similar note, there used to be another Vincent Cho writing erotic poetry in Seattle (online). I’m just that dude is no longer coming up as me.

Are leaders ready to manage their digital footprints? I’m not sure. Last fall, I made an offhand remark to my students that ended up derailing our conversation. Specifically, I had mentioned the importance of “Googling oneself.” The blank looks had surprised me. The vast majority had never done so; they didn’t even know what I was talking about. Even before I could continue to explain, some of them already had their laptops going. Then the heads began to spin–  mine included. I’d thought that anyone who wanted to get a job (or date), was already conscious of their image online.

After all, my students were all master’s students in educational leadership: practicing and aspiring school administrators.  People ready to be in the community eye. How didn’t they know about online reputation? Had they never had to look a person up, then realize that similar (mis)information might be out there about them? In fact, many of the leaders I spoke to in my Twitter research have been incredible image savvy.

Instead, I heard guffaws about “How do ‘they’ know this about me?!” 

Beyond Google. So today I learned that if I want to manage my digital footprint, I can just use Google.

On a similar note, somewhere in the Google search settings (I’d found this a few days ago) there’s a way to see “you” as others do. In other words, Google tailors its algorithms, and you might not be getting the same results that others might.

Asides: For higher ed folks, I’ve written before how I benefit from having a Google Scholar Profile. I especially love the citation push notifications. 

Thanks to @uceacastle for finding the other me out!


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This entry was posted on July 25, 2013 by and tagged , , , , .