Have you ever “GOOGLED” someone on the Internet? Google has become the source to find information “instantly” on anyone. Today’s online search media can make you or break you in only a few moments. Once you had to be careful about what was written or reported about you, now there is a completely new set of media online with Bloggers, Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. Facebook has become the fastest growing and most used social network site on the planet. Facebook worldwide has 1.5 million NEW subscribers a month. Based on Worldwide Internet usage and Population statistics there are over 1,590,000,000 online users. According to a March report from research firm Nielsen, two-thirds of the planet's Internet population visit social networking or blogging sites. Across the world, activity in social networking communities’ accounts for one in every 11 minutes spent online, the report said. In the United Kingdom, the average is one in every six minutes. In Brazil, it's one of every four minutes.
Comedian and radio personality J Anthony Brown says “Watch Out Now” and today that is one of the best pieces of advice a person can have. The Internet has become the number one source to find out information on just about anyone or anything.
As an Internet user, online music consumer or social network user you are leaving a trail of information. Consider how much information you voluntarily provide on your Facebook profile. Now imagine if you could combine that with your Netflix renting and Amazon buying habits. Then throw in the suggestions of your friends and the pages you visit the most often. All those various sources of information about you are currently stored in different locations—on your computer’s browser history, on your Facebook page, on the servers for Netflix and Amazon—but just imagine how accurate a search could be if every time you had a query, the mass of data about you that exists on the Internet could inform the results. Google and Yahoo already do this to a limited extent by tracking your search history to refine results. Local, State and Federal governments now have databases researchable by any common person who has the time, energy and a small amount of money. If you have been involved with a court system over ANY matter there is information on you online. If you have applied for any type of governmental money, paid taxes or applied for a driver’s license, there is information about you online.
In fact, as we each carve out our individual niche on the Web, the logic of search may well flip inside out. Since we are essentially meta-tagging ourselves through our social networking memberships, shopping habits and surfing addictions, it’s conceivable that the information could attempt to find us—the old concept of push media, but in a far more refined way. As new content enters the Web, it could tumble through the various filters that you set up around your identity and then show up on your home-page news feed, or in your personal in box, or pop up on a ticker that follows you around as you browse from page to page. The new concept of EVERYTHING being transferable to your cellphone could really take on a different meaning when your online information gets “pushed” to it.
Email is the most popular mode of communication, designed for one-to-one interactions.
Instant messaging, texting and social networking are dramatically higher among teens than in the overall broadband population.
Photos are the most common type of information shared online, while podcasts are the least common.
Blogs are more likely to be shared with co-workers and the public than other forms of shared content.
Just like the opening days of Napster and the copyright questions, as social networking evolves, there will be an unholy mess of privacy and security issues to work out. Don’t be paranoid just start being careful about what you do. Start creating new positive information about yourself continuously for the Internet. Remember that weekend in college that you decided to “streak” around campus? Where are those photos your friends took? Drugs, Alcohol and photography should not be mixed, it could turn around years later and bite you. Make sure that you don’t have photos on someone’s page that can destroy your career or affect your livelihood.
The Internet is a microscope and you are a living specimen to be examined.