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BizReport : Research archives : December 19, 2007

Pew says 'Google yourself regularly'

Phew! I’m normal. It seems I’m not alone when it comes to Googling my name to see what information pops up.

by Helen Leggatt

For purely professional reasons, you understand, I search my name on Google. Why? To see what, if anything, has been said about my articles. Along with that professional chore I also like to check what personal information of mine is online and have a strange fascination with finding people with the same name – of which there are very few.

Thankfully mine is not unusual behavior. A recent Pew Internet & American Life Project report found that nearly half, 47 percent, of all Internet users have Googled themselves. However, I am in the minority in that only 3 percent Google themselves on a regular basis. Most Internet users surveyed, 74 percent, said they have only done it once or twice. Twenty-two percent admit to Googling themselves “every once in a while”.

The report does demonstrate, however, that over half have never felt the need to Google themselves. Mary Madden, senior research specialist with Pew, thought the number of self Googlers would be higher.

"Yes it's doubled, but it's still the case that there's a big chunk of Internet users who have never done this simple act of plugging their name with search engines," she said. "Certainly awareness has increased, but I don't know it's necessarily kept pace with the amount of content we post about ourselves or what others post about us."

Pew concludes that a little “net vanity” is a good thing. It enables Internet users to see what information is being disseminated about them and gives them the opportunity to correct errors and address any nasty surprises.

The 50-page report is available online (.pdf).

Tags: Google, online behavior

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  • My name “Rob Abdul” for the last 3 years has been my brand name.

    Google has 3,360,000 results for my name Rob Abdul.

    I was so proud when my name appeared in Google suggest.

    It may not sound like much but at least 60 to 80 people Google me a month.

    It is nice for the Ego, I must admit!



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