I had some inclination as to what I might find when I embarked on this week’s task to search for my own online tracks and traces. Having previously been a senior leader in a secondary school, I occasionally Googled myself to check that all was well. I used to be in the local media a lot as I was the lead on a high profile new build project; however, that presence is no longer in the present and I wasn’t sure if those echoes and traces of my past role would remain. In recent years I have adopted a coward’s stance when it comes to social media, so I wasn’t entirely sure about what confusions, absences or presence I might find.
The majority of the first page of the Google search was as expected. I knew about Helen Walker the actress and her car wreck…
However, as I scrolled down the page, I was surprised to see my face:
This was a link to my one and only Google+ post, made earlier this year:
I know that Google are likely to promote posts from Google+ but it was really interesting to see that minor networking activity could result in such presence, especially as I didn’t get to one of my curated personae until page 4 of the Google search; I’m the second one from the bottom in this screen grab:
Clicking through on the Facebook and Linkedin links on this first page yielded the sort of results I would have expected; as these sites know it is me, I appear at the top of the results.
As for the rest of the Helen Walkers out there, they seem to be a very studious bunch, which is useful to me; I’d be happy to be confused with Dr. Helen Walker or to be thought of as an astronomer. If there is identity conflation and confusion, the other Helen Walkers aren’t letting the side down:
I had a play with some of the other search tools which were recommended to us. QuillConnect yielded some fascinating information about my Twitter story:
I found the information about my followers particularly enlightening; as I consider how I can build a more effective online presence, it’s good to know who is ‘influential’ so that my efforts can, perhaps, be more targeted:
It was also heartening to find out that our micro-network is a positive one:
I tried Wolfram Alpha but got a repeated error message:
Klout was interesting though. Klout claims to measure influence based on your activity, connections, etc. across a range of social media sites. I tried it first with Facebook and got a rating of 10/100 (apparently the average is 40):
This, however, didn’t concern me too much as Facebook is very much a personal medium. I treat all my posts with caution (as though I was standing in the middle of my town pronouncing forth with a megaphone) but I don’t use my personal page for professional networking. The Twitter result, when it comes though in 24 hours, will be of greater interest as I see that as my professional feed. I’ll be interested to see what Klout advises in terms of building a presence; I have some concerns that it may just be a clever way to get me to distribute spam.
Given my sense of guilt about my own control of my social media presence, I was relieved by what I uncovered in my searching; my presence wasn’t large but nor was it negative. I found little that was historical and nothing created by anyone other than me. What I did find was recognisable as ‘me’; I didn’t feel the sense of disconnect or disjunct which Clara, Marshall and Nicola discussed. It will be interesting to repeat some of these activities in a few months time to see what impact my efforts to reinvigorate my social media are having.