Ever ego surf? The term stems from an ego-centric viewpoint of searching for yourself online (literally). In today's digital and virtual world the need to do it is above and beyond ego. You definitely want to be aware of somebody publishing something about you online, especially if can be harmful to yourself, your family, your company, etc. You also want to be aware of anything that you may have put out there that you didn't think everybody could see.
Go ahead. Google yourself. Anything surprising in the search results?
Publishing on the internet transcends space and time. Just about anyone, from any where, can write something about you at any time. It is next to impossible to keep on top of it all.
Along comes Google Alerts! http://alerts.google.com
All you need is a gmail account. You can setup automated searches that search for your name and it emails the links to you. So, within a couple hours of my posting this blog entry, Google will find my name and send an email to me with a link to this posting.
Beyond ego surfing, I find Alerts useful for searching for many things I am particularly interested in. I setup alerts for:
- every person in my family
- the most common variants of mispelling my name
- case studies on specific technology topics I am interested in
- anything that mentions company names that I am interested in (particularly my own)
Today I read about the Whitewater Technology Park grant. I just setup an alert with those exact words so that I can passively follow any other news about it.
So, if you don't ego surf now, you may want to do it every few months. If you want to do it more frequently (and in a more passive manner), try Google Alerts!